Back in 2008, after graduating from my undergraduate degree, I went to visit my brother in Alaska. At the time, he was living in Soldotna along the Kenai Peninsula. I saw some of the most beautiful parts of Alaska that included Denali National Park and the Kenai Fjords.
First of all, I don’t think you can go anywhere in Alaska without seeing mountains and the ocean. My first stop was Anchorage late at night where my brother picked me up from the airport. We ventured off on a beautiful drive to Soldotna.
My first experience was right along the Kenai River. I was able to fish with the view of the mountains and actually caught something! A nice 20-pound Coho Salmon. The Kenai River is fully glacier fed. The largest King Salmon was caught in the river. It weighted 97-pounds!
My brother arranged for us to take a Kenai Fjords National Park day cruise out of Seward. The Kenai Fjords are absolutely breathtaking.
We spotted a pod of Humpback whales early along in the cruise.
Puffins dotted the waters throughout the trip. They eat so much food that their weight increases enough so that they have difficulties flying. It was amusing to watch their attempts to take off out of the water to move away from the boat. No puffins were harmed.
Remember how we saw the Humpbacks earlier in the trip? About an hour later we saw a pod of Orcas heading in the same direction as the Humpbacks. Hopefully the Humpbacks were swimming fast enough so that they didn’t become dinner for the Orcas.
This trip is where I first fell in love with Steller sea lions that barked and bathed in the sun along the rocks that jutted out of the sea.
The bald eagles flew around along the coast of the peninsula looking for food.
After the fjord cruise, we went into see Exit Glacier. The water running off of the receding glacier was just incredible. Every few years they place new markers along the path to the glacier to show how much of the glacier has receded.
|Exit Glacier – Seward, Alaska|
The next day we ventured off on a 6-hour road trip to Talkeetna and Denali National Park. These are photos taken along the drive from Soldotna to Talkeetna.
We arrived in Talkeetna, which is base camp for mountaineers that take on Denali,
“Mount McKinley” (yay Obama!) which is the highest mountain peak in North America with a summit elevation of 20,237 feet. It is also incredibly cold with temperatures recorded at -73 C (-100 F)…
We took a hike along the trails in Denali National Park. The Alaska Railroad tracks in the mountains must have been a feat to build in the way that they hug the mountains with drop offs that raise the hair on the back of your neck by just looking at it.
After another stunning ride back to the Kenai Peninsula, we went to the village of Homer and Homer Spit.
Homer Spit is a small piece of land outside of Homer that houses a number of fishers as well as the Salty Dawg Saloon which is a unique little spot to visit. You can camp out on the spit if that is your kind of thing.
Alaska was an amazing place to visit and I went at a perfect time where the sunsets lasted from 9 pm until 11 pm and the temperature outside felt like air conditioning. The wildlife and the scenery were hard to beat and I am so glad I got to experience this place!