– Cantwell, Alaska to Seward, Alaska –
If you’ll recall, yesterday ended in a minor disappointment. We didn’t get to see Mt. McKinley. We were a little bummed, but not everyone gets to see it, so we let it go.
We got up this morning from our hotel and got ready and got out of there as quickly as possible. We stopped at a local gas station for breakfast, where I had a granola bar and some cashews that turned out to be very addicting. Everyone else had powdered donuts, which I just can’t abide. Blah.
We headed south from Cantwell towards Anchorage, munching on our breakfast. As we crested a hill, I looked up and said, “What mountain is that?” We stared at it for a minute. We looked at the map. It was massive and white and right in front of us. It was Mt. McKinley.
After an eight hour bus tour where we never saw it yesterday, we saw it this morning, clear as day, as we were heading out of town. Our first pictures weren’t great, since the mountain was so far away and our lens has too wide an angle, but after our first stop, we pulled out a telephoto lens and prepared to stop again sometime soon.
The second stop took us about 30 miles down the road, and McKinley was a bit closer, but it was now partially hidden behind another mountain. We took several pictures, despite the fact that the view wasn’t perfect.
McKinley was still free of clouds, which I think is pretty rare. It was really neat driving alongside the mountain range, watching McKinley getting closer and closer.
Finally, at out last McKinley stop, we hopped out of the car with our telephoto lens, ready to get great pictures of the mountain without other mountains blocking the view. Our plans fell through. The mountain had hidden behind another shroud of clouds. You could no longer even tell it was really there.
Still, the pictures were pretty, and we’d gotten to see the mountain, even if only briefly. Since we thought we’d missed it entirely because of the weather, it was really a treat to spot it this morning. It made the early driving hours just fly by as we anticipated seeing more of the mountain.
In fact, just before our last stop, we ran into some construction. The person wielding the “slow” and “stop” signs was a very friendly woman that wanted to chat while we waited. She told us about her hard hat and how dogs reacted to it, since Sabre was barking at her. The hat was a bright orange cowboy hat. It was also a real hard hat, with all of the protection required for her construction job. We were impressed. I’ve never seen anything like that before.
Once we passed the mountain, it was only a hop and a skip over to Anchorage. We listened to a few podcasts and bam, we were there. We stopped in at a Qdoba for lunch and got some gas on the way out of town. Dad wanted to wash all of the mud that we’ve gathered off of the Suburban, but it was raining moderately by midday, so we didn’t really see the point.
Technically it has still rained every day of our trip. Today was some of the heaviest we’ve seen. We’re really hoping that it dies down a bit before tomorrow. Mom is growing tired of our umbrella jokes. She bought some ponchos this evening. I guess she’s given in. It does rain in July.
At any rate, it isn’t far from Anchorage to Seward. We were there only a couple of hours later. We passed through several more construction zones, and the stops afforded us the chance to take some decent pictures. I really hope it isn’t raining when we drive back out of Seward on Friday, because I have a feeling the views on the drive are even better when it isn’t cloudy.
It was pretty enough as it was, despite the clouds obscuring our view. It’s a bit chillier down here on the coast, as well. The water is much bluer than it was in Denali, where it was a stoney gray from the glaciers there.
We stopped in at our hotel first thing, where we were pleasantly surprised by how large and nice the rooms were. We even have a kitchen with an oven and a sink. Fancy, right? I think Mom is going to cook breakfast in the morning.
When we checked in, we asked about doing laundry, and the gentleman that owns our hotel told us that the laundromat was a block away, and the last load of laundry goes in at 8pm.
It was only about 4, but we didn’t want to cut it close, so we gathered up our clothes and headed over. It turned out to be a great decision. By 5, the place was packed and there was a line for the washing machines. Our laundry was already in the dryer by then, so we were in good shape.
While we waited on laundry, Mark and I got a stamp from the Kenai Fjords National Park Visitor Center, and checked in with the group that does our boat tours. Our vegetarian meals are all set, and our boat leaves at 8am. Everything is in order there.
With all of that taken care of, we drove down to look at Resurrection Bay and around Seward. It’s a cute little tourist trap, that’s for sure. Even with the rain, it is a neat place to be. It would’ve been nice not to get so wet while we looked around, though.
We had dinner at a local place that served hamburgers. Dad had a fresh halibut burger, which he seemed to enjoy. He said that is tasted like real fish, and I told him that it probably cost more here to buy frozen fish than fresh fish. Mark and I had veggie burgers. Everyone had fries with their sandwiches, which were fantastic. Such yummy fries. I could go back just for their fries, for sure.
With dinner finished, we poked around a couple of shops here in Seward. We checked out a gift shop that we really enjoyed. It was full of socks and t-shirts and jewelry that was neat to look at.
They also had figurines carved out of glass, with colored figures inside them. It’s difficult to explain, and I couldn’t really get a picture without looking like some creeper, but try to imagine a really neat giant glass thing that costs about $400 or more and looks really heavy. My mom loved them. It’s too bad they cost so much, or they’d have made a great birthday present. I’m not sure how we’d get it home, though. I bet they weigh 15 pounds.
We took a quick jaunt over to the local Safeway to restock our cooler and headed back to the hotel for the evening to repack our folded laundry and rest a bit. Tomorrow we have our boat tour of Kenai Fjords. I hope I get a picture of an orca.
– Trip Total : 5,361 miles –