The trip south from Talkeetna to Seward was typical of Alaska; periods of normal city driving interspersed with stretches of uninhabited glory. The occasional “Property for Sale” sign on the roadside would get my heart racing.
Getting through the Anchorage area was just like any other big city, filled with last minute lane changes and annoyed drivers. But then, just a little outside of the concrete jungle, you get vistas like the one below.
We arrived at our latest campground, #44 on this adventure, without problems, and reveled in the greatly reduced mosquito population as compared with Talkeetna. This campground is a short distance from the highway in to Seward, but far enough away that we don’t hear any road noises, just the twice/day passage of the Alaska Railroad.
There are a few other campgrounds closer to Seward, but they are essentially parking lots along the public roadway in the downtown area. Cheaper, but not with the silence that we enjoy.
Our first day in town was spent in our normal fashion, stopping at the Visitor’s Center to pick up local flyers, and wandering the small downtown area, which included lunch.
Our 2nd day was pre-arraigned back in April while I was perusing things to do. I had signed us up for a sightseeing boat tour of Resurrection Bay. With all of the glaciers in the area, it is no surprise that this is a fjord, like those along the coast of Norway. This creates the incredible scenery around Seward, with steep and high mountains enclosing very deep and protected waters filled with sea life. Since Seward is along the coast, it is ice-free year-round, which made it an important port during WWII.
I wanted to absorb all of the scenery that I could, so we hit the bay onboard the MV Nunatak with Kenai Fjords Tours.
The day started out a little misty with a light drizzle, so most of the mountains were obscured. But the mists also lent a certain amount of mystery to the views (haha, pun intended).
As we entered the Gulf of Alaska and the sea swells sent some passengers running to the head (aka restroom), the Captain announced a rare opportunity, a “National Geographic” moment as he put it. A pod of Humpback Whales were feeding just a short distance away. He slowly closed the boat to within about a quarter mile of the whales and stopped there to explain about how the whales capture their food using the “bubble net feeding” process. Here’s a nice video from BBC America about it. And what we saw looked just like the video.
Just before the whales would breach, the seagulls would mass right over top of where the bubbles were rising, ready to snag their snacks, courtesy of the whales.
This was an amazing experience to see in person. We did not book the trip as a whale watching adventure, but it was a great and unexpected bonus.
On our last day in Seward, we exercised our legs and hiked out the Cain’s Head Trail for 5 miles. The elevation change for us was a bit over 1,000 feet, so it was a nice workout, and we enjoyed the scenery and lunch on the shore of the bay.
Our short visit to Seward was a great experience with wonderful vistas and wildlife encounters, and will always be a part of us. If I disappear from my retirement home some day like this guy did, look for me in Seward!