We had a good trip down to Seward from Anchorage. The traffic through downtown Anchorage was light at that time of morning on a holiday. There was heavy traffic on the highway the rest of the way down though, heavy enough for me to pull over a couple of times to let the speeders through. The campground is nice but crowded for the holidays. They have 81 RV sites and I don't know how many tent sites. The No Vacancy sign out front makes me glad that I had reservations. We have full hookups, limited cable and wireless internet. I was going to try the DirecTV but changed my mind when the compass setting showed me a low mountain in the way. :)
After setting up camp we took a ride into town to check out the lay of the land and where we are going to park for Saturday's Kenai Fjords National Park boat tour. We also did a quick tour of downtown Seward and found them in full 4th of July mode. Thank goodness we didn't have to wait two hours for a parade to pass like we did last year in Bemidji, MN. They are having fireworks tonight at midnight. That is exactly 38 minutes after sunset. Of course it will still be light, but darker than it was an hour earlier! We are going to try and make it but I'm not sure if these old bones can stay up that late.
Well these bones did make it and the fireworks display went off without a hitch and we had a front row seat in our parked Jeep. It was very nice but only lasted about 20 minutes. Of course it was still light at midnight. Since it was only twilight we could still see the fireworks colors but also see the smoke they left behind. Misty said it reminded her of a tie-died T-shirt.
Saturday we went on the six-hour Kenai Fjords National Park cruise which turned out to be wonderful. We got to see sea otters, harbor seals, Stellar sea lions, several different birds (including another bald eagle), a humpback whale, and finally killer whales or Orcas. We stayed in the vicinity of a small pod of four males for about 15 minutes. I managed to get a few shots but of course, none that are exceptional. Misty was ecstatic to see the Orcas in the wild. We also went to Holgate Glacier where we got right up to the terminus and waited about a half-hour, hoping to see some calving action. There were a few small ones but nothing like we were hoping for. Still, it was a beautiful sight and really put a period on our other glacier sights.
Sunday Doris and Misty went to an Iditarod camp to see the dogs and take a sled ride. They had a great time and learned a lot about the life these work dogs live and the preparation and requirements that participants go through when competing in the Iditarod.
Monday we went to Exit Glacier which is the only glacier in the Kenai Fjords National Park reachable by road. It still required a 1.3 mile hike up to it and a one mile hike back but was well worth the effort. The trail up included a little side trail to get an overall view of the glacier from a short distance. The whole trail is on land that was covered by the glacier less than 100 years ago and you can see the striations on the huge rocks that was caused by the glacier's movement. I have included a few pictures but again, you just can't imagine the beauty and majesty without being here.
Tuesday was our last day in Seward and we visited the Sea Life Center. This facility is a research and rehabilitation center for Alaska's sea creatures. It was two-thirds paid for with money from Exxon as a result of the Valdez oil spill. It was a treat to see some of the creatures up close that we had only seen from a distance while on one of our tours. They also had a short presentation on the oil spill: it's causes; the damage; the clean up efforts; and the state of the recovery 20 years later. It was a lot of what we had heard on the Valdez tour with the exception of the state of recovery. Most species are pretty well recovered but there are still some (especially in the bird family) that are well behind the curve in recovery.
Tomorrow we head for Anchor Point which is about 25 miles north of Homer. We hope to stay in a state recreation site (read that as no hookups) but we have no reservation so wish us luck.