Sunday, September 27, 2015

A Couple Days in Seward Alaska

View From Seward Byway

The town of Seward Alaska was about 20 miles down the Seward Highway from our little cabin on Kenai Lake.  We made that trip two or three times.  It's a beautiful drive passing by mountains with hanging glaciers, lakes, streams, and miles and miles of evergreen trees.

Starting in Anchorage, the Seward Highway snakes around the coastline through the Kenai Peninsula for 127 miles.  The highway was designated a National Forest Scenic Byway by the U.S. Forest Service on September 8, 1989. Later, the State of Alaska added it to the State Scenic Byway system on January 29, 1993, when the Seward Highway was named an All-American Road as part of the National Scenic Byway program by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation. This is not a road you take to get to a destination as quickly as possible.  There are numerous interesting places to stop and enjoy along the way.   If you go, take your time and enjoy the ride.   I'll be sharing more sites from the Seward Highway in the next couple posts.

For most of the drive you'll not find the typical tourist businesses along the way.   There are few hotels or restaurants.   Along the highway we ate at the campground restaurant in Moose Pass (population 200) and at the Exit Glacier Salmon Bake.   Despite what their sign says, the Salmon Bake is a great place to stop and eat.

Who could resist this kind of marketing?

It's also an interesting place to take photos.  They had a collection of interesting old stuff outside, including this boat and truck.  I doubt the truck still runs and the bottom of the boat was rotted through, but they make interesting subjects.  

The inside of the restaurant is a collection space for all kinds of interesting old stuff.  No camera shots from the inside.  After climbing the Harding Icefields Trail we were more interested in eating than taking pictures.

We didn't get to see sea life on the planned sea kayaking trip so we did the next best thing and visited the Alaska Sea Life Center in Seward.   Alaska’s only public aquarium and ocean wildlife rescue center is located right on Resurrection Bay.  Inside we were able to have close encounters with puffins, octopus, sea lions and other sea life.

The puffins were especially fun for us to watch.  They are comical birds.  One in particular would get in the middle of the pool and swim around and around in circles.   Unfortunately, they were in a glassed in enclosure and the glass was not real clean on their side.  I didn't get many good pictures of them, but we sure did enjoy watching them waddle, swim, and dive deep under the water.  If you are in Seward, take a few hours and visit the center.

On August 30 we took a hike from Seward to Tonsina Creek, a scenic 3 mile trail that takes about 1 hour in each direction.  The trail starts in a camping area about 100 feet above Resurrection Bay. The first half of the trail is wide and pretty much up hill.  There were trees across the trail in several places, having been blown over by the recent high winds.   Our destination was Tonsina Creek that empties into the bay so the second half was all downhill, reclaiming all that elevation we gained in the first half.

Tonsina Creek
Swimming Up Stream
The final decent is over a series of boardwalks placed in a zig zag switchback pattern ending at a foot bridge over Tonsina Creek.  The Seagulls were there because the creek was full of Salmon attempting to swim up stream to spawn where they were born. The photos have an abstract artsy feel.

There were almost as many dead Salmon as there were live ones.  The birds seemed to zero in on a section in the fish's tail, pecking a hole and eating what must be prime eats for Seagulls.

It's A Struggle

It was low tide when we were there and we were able to walk out on what is the bottom or the bay at high tide.  At one point we are walking through a grassy area and came upon a dead Salmon on the trail, left there when the tide went out.
Resurrection Bay
The rhythmic waves in the bay had created ridges in the sand.   They seemed to be reaching for the mountains on the other side of the bay.

Patterns In The Sand
Seward is a destination for cruise ships in Alaska.  There were two in port that day and both left while we were exploring Tonsina Creek area.   Neither ship was huge.  I doubt the bay, port or town could accommodate a mega cruse ship or the hordes of people that disgorge all at once.

Holland America Zaandam
Tomorrow we leave Seward and head back north, stopping for an inland glacier cruise and a visit to the unusual little town of Whittier.

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