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August 12, 2016

Seward Alaska and Exit Glacier

The drive from Anchorage onto the Kenai Peninsula flows the Turnagain Arm.  It is jaw dropping in the rain, I can only image the drive on one of those postcard perfect days.
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With cloud cover skipped the gondola at Alyeska to the top of the ski resort.  This is a $50 ride with the plan to hike back down.  The idea to hike the Winner Creek Trail up to the gorge was also ‘washed out’ as the trail was closed pending the outcome of a search for a missing hiker.

But it was a fine day to visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center.  The Center is about all that is left in Portage at the bottom end of Turnagain Arm.
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The animals here are usually brought in as orphan or injured juveniles.  They are here as they cannot be released back into the wild.  It’s not quite the same as the incarcerated animals seen in the zoo, but it’s not a big difference either.  And it’s a chance to meet a Musk Ox!
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There’s lots of turnouts and some fun trails along the Seward Highway.  This little spot offered Fish Viewing, and we had to check that out.  There were just the fishes there, with us, but by the looks of the muddy/bloody access on the far shore the bears do stop by.
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Of all the sockeye at the spawning grounds this guy was our favorite.  To his last breath he will be chasing off any intruder to the eggs he is compelled protect.
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The peaceful little town of Moose Pass offers the use of wet-stone to grind off any rough edges.
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A good leg stretch was the trail up to Grayling Lake in the broken SUNSHINE!  As long as the sun lasted we were in no hurry to reach the end, but alas the sun did not last and we had to return.  Fields of wild blueberries are found all along the trail.

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It’s not permitted to take anything from the National Forest, but the blueberries know no boundaries and fields can be found all along this section.
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Several of the many turnouts offer informative signs to go with the awesome views.  Many offer short accessible trails, and all offer something.  Like most newbies we are following the Milepost (… in the rain).

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The weather is holding, it’s late, we’re pooped … but the weather is holding so off to Exit Glacier for our last excursion of the day.
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We’ll follow the ‘Glacier’s Edge’ trail and return view ‘Glacier View’.  A fairly easy loop.
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The City of Seward offers waterfront campsites (dry $20 w/e $40).  Several campgrounds are spread along the waterfront form the old historic district to downtown.  Being tourists we took a campsite as close as possible to the historic district with the cruise ships, tours, restaurants on the waterfront.

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Yupper we'd like to see a dry day too!

There is a large fish cleaning station in the historic district.  As the fish are filleted the scraps are tossed into a central bin for use as crab bait.  But the raven and this clever otter have figured out an easy breakfast.
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There were two different cruise ships at the harbor during our 3 day stay.IMG_5390 (640x480)IMG_5394 (640x473)

I’m not sure how many hikes can be taken in the rain, nor days without vitamin D, and for sure everything is bigger in Alaska!  We can vouch there is nothing common about the Alaskan common cold!  For much of Seward this was Fran’s perspective …. Perhaps a few too many hikes in the rain ??? nah!
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After 3 days of gray and rain Fran and I were ready to do something.  The Fjord and Glacier Tours did not make sense with the low visibility so I went to book a ‘Sea Life’ tour.  But alas the boat people were faster and the wild life cruise was full. 

Off to the Alaska SeaLife Center on the waterfront in town.  The boat people are here too, but we are ahead of the main crowd of cruise buses.


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I wanted to see the puffins and they do not disappoint.  Quite the showoffs!IMG_5409 (640x479)IMG_5410 (640x480)
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The ‘Touch Tanks’ are fun too.  A bit like the Point Loma Tide Pools but a more controlled and dense habitat.
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Seward was host to the 1910 Iditarod, the the Mile 0 marker on the waterfront next to where we are parked.
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Obviously John Ballaine did not sail into Seward Harbor on a day like today!
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Next Central Kenai! … in the rain


















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