For the most part, we made Anchorage as our base … we stayed in a hotel there drove up and down the area. Next time we visit, we will cover Juneau and surroundings. Unfortunately, there is no “road” between the two cities – you either have to fly into Juneau or take the boat from the Anchorage coast.
Day 1 – Drive to Seward:
You don’t really have to plan your trip in Alaska. Anywhere you drive, there is bound to be eye-catching scenery. We drove from Anchorage to Seward, the southernmost tip of Alaska. The driving time is 2.5 hours but it took us more because we soaked in the scenery on the way. We stopped at Girdwood – took the cable car not the top of the mountains and did some hiking up there. One thing to watch out for is that gas is very expensive in the area – try to fill up your tank in the bigger cities like Anchorage before you set off.
The drive is extremely pleasant with several areas where you can stop by and enjoy the mountains/sea/snow…. This was also the weekend when the whales begin their migration to the warmer areas of the world so we did not catch too many of them but there are several areas where we saw them swimming away … or so we thought! Seward is a nice coastal town with a beautiful harbor and some cool eating joints. Nothing spectacular compared to the rest of Alaska but not ugly by any standards.
Day 2 – Calving of the Glaciers:
We covered pretty much the same route as the day before – except this time we took the train from Anchorage to Whittier, about halfway to Seward. The company that we worked with was “26 Glaciers Cruise” – we hopped aboard their Luxury Catamaran, the M/V Glacier Quest for a trip to Alaska’s glaciers – the journey took just under 4 hours, and we were able to view the largest concentration of tidewater glaciers in Alaska. The 26 Glacier Cruise traveled over 135 miles into Prince William Sound (in the Kenai Fjord National Forest area) where we saw 26 “named” glaciers – Barnard Glacier, Surprise Glacier et. al. Most of them put up a show for us as they “calved” with a large boom sound into the ocean. Getting face to face with these towering masses of ice was undoubtedly the highlight of the trip, so close we could “hear” the glaciers move and gaze at their brilliant blues hues. Not only do you see the awesome calving, but also all kinds of wildlife – floating otters and seals on icebergs. A MUST DO!!!