Travelogues

Trip Information

United States
All I want......
All I want...... (110)
Trip Date:2003-07-14 - 2003-07-18
# Photos:18 [View]
Countries visited:United States
Viewed: 2925
After an almost life changing experience in the north, I'm ready to see where the land meets the sea. To get there I follow the Seward highway. From Anchorage the road follows Turnagain arm, a bay created by the glaciers poring down from the mountains of the Chugach Range. I should note that while there are incredibly clear waters to be found in Alaska, the waters around Anchorage are laden with silt and often braided through gravel beds and mud flats. Turnagain Arm is tainted with the glacial flour and thus presents little water life aside from the marshes such as Potters marsh.

The Portage glacier is the first major glacier you will come upon on this trip. It's accessible by a moderate hike, or you can take a tour boat up its lake to the glaciers face. A feature of glaciers that you don't, or I didn't realize, is their affect on the local environment. The cold air coming off the ice fields mix with the air at lower levels and spawn clouds and mist. On this day Portage was working overtime, so I opted for the Byron glacier. The hike was shorter and on the day I was there an ice cave had formed at the outflow providing some interesting scenery. I might also note that wading in a glacial stream is a lot like standing in an ice chest. After a short wade to see if I could get a better photo, my feet and lower legs were beginning to revolt and refused to provide feed back for a number of minutes.

After leaving the glaciers, I continued south toward Seward. The drive is scenic, but the road is cluttered with RV'ers taking their homes on wheels for vacations. The road travels through mountain passes with names like Moose pass and such. As with most of the state, this road to is lined with lakes streams and rivers. The big difference I noticed is the size of the trees. Because the warm ocean currents temper the weather, this are is sheltered and receives much more rain than the northern and interior areas. The trees here can grow to be quite large, and I don't know the stats, but compared to black spruce I saw that were barely baseball bats, these trees were monsters.

Seward is the Alaska equivalent of a beach town. Years ago it was dominated by the fishing industry as evidence by the still operating canneries and fish processors. A recent arrival has been the cruise lines who it was said have bought the waterfront and spawned the trendy little touristy shops common in so many places. What has changed little is the land surrounding Resurrection Bay. With few exceptions, this land is little changed. With the creation of Kenia Fjord National Park much of the peninsula has been saved and protected.

On the first day there, the sky was blue, the weather pleasant, but the wind was strong and persistent. Following the road to it's end I found a deserted little beach of black gravel littered with driftwood and seaweed. The mountains descend to the very edge of this beach, as do the forest that cover them. Posted signs warning of recent bear activity here. From the shore are sights of eroded rock columns and trendy beach homes with what are sure to be million dollar views.

Leaving the road for a daylong sea cruise I am rewarded again with what is said to be a rare day. Though the sunny blue skies have gone and the mountains lay shrouded in cloud and mist, this is the formula for wild life viewing. The waters becalm and the animals emerge at every waypoint. Humpback whales cruise and feed, porpoises team to scare up schools of baitfish and sea lions bask in the mild, soft light of summer. We pass glacier with stellar seal backing on the debris of it's end, black bears combing the beach for salmon and bald eagles perched high waiting for the arrival of lunch. The shores of the barrier islands team with flocks of gulls, terns and puffin. A day for the camera.... A challenge for the photographer.
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