Friday, July 14, 2017

Another COOL Week in Alaska

On a daily basis as we enjoy the cool weather and beautiful scenery of Alaska, I say to myself "Yes, this is why we came here for the summer!"

After a fun couple of days in Valdez, Deidre continued her vacation in a rented cabin 15 miles north of Seward. Considering it had no electricity, water or bathroom, it was quite nice and the four of them were quite comfortable.

We had planned on going to Seward a week or so later, so with a shift in plans we booked a few days at an RV park that I thought would quite close to where she was going to be.  It was indeed! In fact the RV park managed the rental cabins and we were virtually in the same place.

They took one day to drive there, but since the driving distance was about 350 miles, we decided to take two days, stopping at Slide Mountain RV Park on the way. We could have done the drive in one day, but I am still a little cautious since the accident, and prefer to minimize the stress.

One aspect of being retired I consider an advantage, is the time to go slowly and enjoy doing nothing other than just living. On the other hand, our daughter and family were on vacation and wanted to pack in as much as possible. On our second day of driving, they went on a fishing trip and caught lots of salmon.  

Before they arrived back, we went over to the cabin to get a fire going in the deck fire place. It overlooked the lake and was a good place to relax. 

We also built one in the cabin itself. The nights do get cool, and the little wood stove made it nice and cozy. 

Andrew grilled some fresh salmon both evenings we were there. They also gave us enough for several meals, and shipped the rest back to their home in San Diego.

same youngster, photo from web

On the second day, we again went our separate ways during the day. 

They went on a sea kayaking trip, and Craig and I went into town to explore and visit the Alaska Sealife Center. Craig liked the Giant Octopus the best. It was all scrunched up along one edge of a large tank.

I enjoyed watching the orphaned walrus cub. He was in a pool with his handler learning practicing how to get on and off a slab of floating plastic. A skill he will need to climb onto floating ice. We were able to observe through a second story window overlooking the pool.

It was raining when they got back from kayaking, but working together we got a fire going, salmon grilling, and side dishes ready to share. I think my grandsons were looking forward to sleeping up in the overhead loft.

Our last day together, Sunday July 9th, came too soon. It was our daughter's 50th birthday. 

They had reservations for their last night in Alaska at the Hotel Alyeska, and dinner plans at the restaurant at the top of the tram.

Once again, this shows how mother and daughter sometimes think alike. A stop at the Alyeska was also in my plans. It is quite a beautiful place, and the ride up the tram is fun.

The Alyeska allows  overnight RV parking in their day-use lot 51 weeks of the year. Unfortunately this was the one weekend they did not, because there was a big festival going on in the town of Girdwood, which includes the resort.

I am glad I had double-checked the RV information the week before. It would have been unfortunate for us to arrive, expecting to dry camp there and be turned away. Instead we left the Alfa at the RV park near Seward and followed them in the Jeep. This made for a late drive home again, but with the all-night dusk it was not a problem.

Until we almost hit a moose!

This is not the moose we almost hit. We saw this one up close at the 
Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, before we went to the Alyeska.

We do take the moose warnings seriously, especially since when driving the Alfa out of Valdez last week, when a full size moose just walked casually across the road in front of us. We were far enough away that just braking slowed us enough to miss her. But the adrenaline did flow.

At one in the morning it is as dark as it gets, especially when both sides of the road are densely wooded. I was driving a little under the speed limit, with my brights on, when suddenly there was a moose on the pavement, ahead of us. Fortunately he or she was going in the same direction as we were, ran alongside for a few paces, then ran off the road.  If the moose had gone across the road, we would have hit it. 

Hundreds of moose are killed on the roads of Alaska each year, and the vehicles that hit them do not fare well.

Speaking of moose, we saw several at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, which we visited with Deidre and family.

They have a large moose barn where five young male moose live. They were all rescued as calves when their mothers were either killed or abandoned them. 

We all enjoyed seeing this porcupine.  He was really fat. He was rescued after his mom was killed on a road. He had lived as a house pet for a couple of years, actually sleeping with the family children. It was interesting to see one, alive, after having only seen road kills in the past.

This young black bear also lost his mom at a young age. The mother had grown to be a problem bear in the Valdez area, constantly raiding garbage cans and staying in town. She was put down, and he was brought here.

Their grizzly bears have a large enclosure.

There is a large, sturdy deck that overlooks the area so people can watch the bears in a somewhat natural setting.

The bears also seem to enjoy watching the people. The public cannot feed them, but the bear hope for handouts anyway.

So ... where are we now?

On Monday we drove up and around the Kenai Peninsula to a park just north of Homer. (See the map above)

But this post is already way too long!  I'll catch up some more in the next post.  


  1. Ooooohhhhh, LOVE this post....would loved to have found out more about that little cabin with no water, electricity or bathroom. So there was an outhouse, and probably a way to get water to the house? A well? The cabin looked gorgeous anyway! Loved your photos of the refuge...we loved it, too. Yay! moose sightings, but a little too close for comfort...thanks for sharing. :-)

  2. And great photos! What kind of camera do you use?

    1. Most of our images are from "Merikay's camera", a Sony RX100 Mark I. For certain "major things" like the Meares Glacier, I bring our Nikon D3, often with our Tamron 28-300mm zoom lens. When a pic seems really wide-angle like the image of the cabin above, it's taken with our LG G6 phone's 125 degree wide-angle camera. Maybe I can get the whole URL on one line:

  3. So much fun you are having and excellent tour of Alaska, you seem to be doing it right. Keep travelling safe and watch out for those moose.

  4. Must have gotten RV fixed and on your way again.. Seward was an interesting place. We took a sea tour south, fun to see the Sea otters, seals, puffins in open waters. Went all the way to end of part of Alaska, so far from Central Oregon, go into a restaurant for dinner n they have Black Butte Porter!! Made right in CO, was weird. Stayed in camp ground by Portage Glacier, was freezing (this was 20 years ago when flew up, rented truck/camper.. to visit with my son) fun trip.. but lots of driving. Moose are scary... That highway to Fairbanks, the freight trucks had HUGE spotlights that they swing back n forth in front if them to spot moose near the road!!! We were driving all night to get wherever we were going and there was more dark as was Sept

    1. We had emergency repairs and replaced the tow bar in Anchorage, but are waiting until we get back to California for body work. For now we are held together with duct tape and wire. Not pretty, but so far it works.

  5. Such a great post Merikay. You and Craig have made such good memories with your family here in Alaska. We're in Seward now..and we already miss Anchor Point's peace and quiet. We plan to check out the Alaska Sealife Center too. Unfortunately we haven't seen many moose, maybe a handful at best, since our arrival to Alaska about 2 months ago. Safe travels.

  6. Craig, you're so funny(wink)! We have seen maybe 4 or 5 moose so far, that's all. By the way, your blog's header pic is beautiful.

  7. WOW, great place to spend the summer. I think I might have some bear spray just in case.


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