Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Whittier, Homer and Seward

Our travel down south was to see and experience the areas of Whittier, Homer and Seward in that order. WOW! just beautiful.

Leaving the city of Anchorage behind we had a great drive along the coast following the railway line a lot of the way until we reached Portage National Park and as it was still early we set up camp in a beautiful bush setting and went for a walk. The blue ice trail took us to Portage lake, the visitors centre and lodge where we had the chefs speciality, chowder soup for dinner before our return walk back to the RV having done a little over 5 miles.

The following morning we continued our walk along this trail in the opposite direction to moose flat before we drove the short distance to Whittier, this quaint remote located town on Prince Willam Sound. Access to Whittier is via a single lane 2.7 mile tunnel which is shared with the train. The tunnel is open for access into Whittier on the ½ hour and returns on the hour at a cost of $12 per vehicle. After a walk around town and lunch on the deck of a cafe overlooking the sound we continued on until it was time once again to pull up for the night.

Our camp was alongside the Kenai river, a sport fishing river which has produced a world record king salmon of just over 97lbs. As it was the first pleasant night we have had in a while we ate our meal in the great outdoors.

The following morning we continued along the Sterling highway, slowly the terrain becoming flatter until we arrived at Homer. Well informed about this town from a gentleman who lived there who was camped alongside us in the RV Park at Anchorage, we headed to the first point of interest, the Alaska Island and Ocean Visitors centre. This centre has a hands on Research Centre and is packed with information and displays. While there we also watched a movie on the Wildlife Research Experience.

It was then lunch at the "Fat olive" before seeing Bishops Beach, then it was a drive to where the "Land ends" along the 4.5mile long sand bar called "The Spit". From there was a view of 5 Glaciers on the mountains across the Bay. We soon realised this little town with so much character was worthy of an overnight stay so we booked into an RV park overlooking Kachemak Bay, put on our walking shoes and went for a look. Salty Dawg Saloon was our last stop before calling it a night. The Saloon is very unique with the $1 bills signatured and left all over the walls by the many that visit it. No dollar bill left by us as we had no pen to autograph it but we did leave behind our business card.

Homer is known as a quaint drinking village with a fishing problem. and is the Halibut fishing capital of the world.

Leaving this great town we then travelled along the National Scenic Byway winding along the coast to the town of Seward on the shores of Resurrection Bay. We visited the Sea life Centre where the underwater and above ground viewing tanks gave us a view of what can be found in Alaskan waters. The touch tanks allowed us to encounter the marine life and there were many short documentaries to watch. We then drove to the Bluff and had the opportunity to stop and admire the antics of a sea otter near the shores of the bay. It was back to the RV where we watched the movie" A girl who kicked the hornets nest". the third of a series that we all really enjoyed.

Back to Anchorage but along the way we went out through Girdwood to the Alyeskan Ski Resort for a look and ended up spending a while in this area so it was late when we got into the city so spent the night. We are now heading to Denali National Park ...

reflections of mountains


Lake on Blue Ice Walking Trail

Old Boats at Homer

Camp site at Bear Creek

Road alongside  scenic railway

Camp at Homer on the Bay

at sea life centre

Duck at Wildlife centre

Gift store at Homer

road to Seward

Blue Ice Trail

Glacier Lake

Boat Mooring at Homer

Halibut caught at Homer
A great catch of Halibut

Homer fishing capital of the world

Kachemak Bay

Overlooking the Bay
Leaving our business card at the saloon
Main street of Seward

Nilchikink Russian Church

Road South

Portage Lake

Portage River

On Road to South

Puffin Bird at Sea Life Centre

Salmon Fishermen at Kenai River

Salty Dawg Saloon

Salty Dawg Saloon

Sea Lions at Sea Life Centre

Sea Lion at Sea Life Centre

Sea otter relaxing on the bay

Earthquakes everyday in Alaska

Blue Ice Trail

Whittier Tunnel

Wildlife refuge

Wolf Taxidermed

Alyskan Resort Hotel

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

To Anchorage

We left the beautiful little town of Valdez on route to Anchorage having to travel back to Glenallen on the same route, the only road in. The drive to Anchorage through Palmer was very picturesque crossing Eureka summit which is the highest point on the Glenn highway, passing sheep mountain showing its beautiful orange colours and 4 mile long 2 mile wide Matanuska Glacier and its river.
We had a stop at Palmers Visitors centre for a walk through showcase gardens. Back in 1935 an unusual agricultural experiment was started here where they gathered a colony of people and put them together to farm. The aim was to get people off the dole, and although not entirely successful Palmer has become the capital of agriculture and the headquarters for the farmers cooperative marketing organisation. When they talk about agriculture they refer mainly to production of fruit and vegetable. The season only lasts 100 days per year.
A dual lane highway lead us into the busy city of Anchorage ( 283,000 population ) where we spent a couple of days doing odd jobs and shopping. We wanted to be close to downtown where we could walk to the towns main area so we stayed in an RV park in the city but moved to the outskirts of town the next morning as it was too noisy with the rail line nearby and planes flying overhead on there way out of the airport.
Anchorage served its purpose having the major store outlets we required. A large RV store to get some replacement grommets for the stove top, RV friendly loo paper and some special double sided tape for our doors.  We got to know our way around the town chasing the different stores everyone wanted to look at but we were glad to be leaving the bustle of the city behind to head south. We will have to return through Anchorage again on our travels back north.  
Anchorage Visitors Centre
Anchorage Gardens
Camp Along Nelchina River
Now which should we take....
Everything in Alaska is BIG...
Matanuska Glacier
Matanuska River
at Palmer Gardens
Display in Anchorage City Centre
Palmer Visitors Centre
Rob and her Cuddly
Salmon Caught by fisherman
Sheep Mountain
Showcase Gardens Palmer
Would you look at the size of that....

At railway crossing ??????

Rose at Palmer Showcase gardens

Alaskan Gift Store

Cabbage plant at Showcase Gardens

Indian reservation

Flowers at Anchorage Gardens
Flowers at Anchorage Gardens