Wednesday, September 16, 2015

It's A Travel Day - Denali to Seward Alaska

We've reached the point in our journey where we have to leave the Denali area and head south to Seward Alaska.   We're going 329 miles, including driving through Anchorage on the way to Seward.

All day we kept seeing these large helicopters and Osprey aircraft.   Sometimes one at a time and sometimes in groups.   There was a reason for all this activity.   Remember what happened in Alaska around September 1?   I'll leave the answer to a later blog post.

Once we stoppped for lunch in Sarah Palin's home town of Wasilla and negotiated traffic in Anchorage, we made our way to Turnagain (turn-again) Arm.   How did that body of water get that strange name?

Turnagain Arm  is one of two waterways that branch off Cooks Inlet.  James Cook sailed into it while searching for the Northwest Passage.  The inlet was named after Cook in 1794 by George Vancouver, who had served under Cook in 1778. Turnagain Arm was named by William Bligh of HMS Bounty fame. Bligh served as Cook's Sailing Master on his 3rd and final voyage, the aim of which was discovery of the Northwest Passage.

Turnagain Arm
Upon reaching the head of Cook Inlet, Bligh was of the opinion that both Knik Arm and Turnagain Arm were the mouths of rivers and not the opening to the Northwest Passage. Under Cook's orders Bligh organized a party to travel up Knik Arm, which quickly returned to report Knik Arm indeed led only to a river.

Afterwards a second party was dispatched up Turnagain Arm and it too returned to report only a river lay ahead. As a result of this frustration the second body of water was given the disingenuous name "Turn Again".

James Cook, William Bligh, HMS Bounty.  Wow, all that High School History is coming back to me.

Kite Surfing
It was extremely windy the day we were there and we found kite surfers out on the waterway making the most of the wind.

On the other side of Turnagain Arm is the old mining town of Hope Alaska.  "Hope City" was a mining camp, established in 1896.  Portions of the town were destroyed in the 1964 Good Friday earthquake.

How could we resist a side trip to Hope?  In 2010 there were 192 people living in this little town.  It was an interesting place.  When we arrived a little after five the town was in the process of closing down for the day.  They couldn't seem to figure out if they wanted tourists to visit or stay away.   There were a few signs directing tourists to the historic buildings in town, but there were also signs that said you can't go here or there.   At one place there was a beautiful grass covered delta where a stream emptied into Turnagain Arm.   At the edge of the delta was a large sign that said this is a beautiful place, but a private place and the owners didn't want anyone out there.

The Seaview Cafe
Every quaint Alaska town needs a historic Cafe.  The Seaview Cafe is 119 years old.

And The Seaview BAR
And a historic bar.

We wandered around the town but didn't find much to see.   If you go, save the miles and skip the drive to Hope.

Our Cabin
After getting back on the main road and passing through the metropolis of Moose Pass (population 219) we arrived at our lodging for the next several nights.   I can highly recommend Renfros Lakeside Retreat about 20 minutes outside Seward on the Seward Highway.  The cabins are tucked away in the woods on Kenai Lake.

View from back of the cabin
Tomorrow we start our adventure in Seward

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