Now this is Alaska the beautiful!!! I think this is surely a cause of a severe case of visual overload. The Seward Highway is a destination in itself and a fabulous one at that so we decided to just stop at each interesting turn-off and look around. Well, stopped at so many beautiful places along the highway we were hard pressed to drive more than a mile at a time. We took some of the trails that are off Seward Highway for even more beautiful sights.
Oh, we are so glad we left the city. I’m sure Anchorage has its highlights but we have seen cities all of our lives. For now, after traveling some of these beautiful wilderness areas it’s harder for us to be drawn to the city lights. We boondocked right off the Seward Highway, south of Anchorage. Had to stop driving because we were afraid the traffic would hurry us through some of these beautiful areas and we didn’t want to be hurried. We got up early (4:30 am) to travel this beautiful highway so the traffic was light and we were able to amble along with little interruption. Pulled off this road frequently to see beautiful sights.
Just as soon as you leave Anchorage traveling south, Potter Marsh is a turn-off on the east side of the highway. This riparian area is replete with all kinds of birds. Just the marsh alone is beautiful but the birds are a multiplier of the beauty.
Also just south of Anchorage is Turnagain Arm. This is the scene of amazing bore tides. The only location in the U.S. where bore tides occur regularly. We were not here early enough in June to see a really good (read high) bore tide but we will be coming back through this area on our way out of the Kenai Peninsula so hopefully we will be here on a day that the bore tide is substantial. Would like to see the bore tide flood the mudflats of Turnagain Arm quickly. In a few years we’ll be heading to the Maritime Provinces of Canada to see the Bay of Fundy which has an even bigger bore tide. This is something we’ve always wanted to see. If you are coming to the Anchorage area this summer you will want to check the bore tides schedule. For the 2012 schedule go to http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/units/chugach/12boretidesched.pdf.
Took the Whittier/Portage Glacier Access Road off the Seward Highway. Poked around at many of the turn-offs. The views along here are lovely. Went to the Visitor Center which was very nice and watched their movie. The Portage Glacier is located behind a mountain but a glacier can be seen from the visitor center in the valley between two mountains across Portage Lake. None of these glaciers are calving now, it is still too cold. Witness the ice still on Portage Lake in the picture. They do offer glacier cruises in this area but it is a rather cold and wet day and we want a cruise that sees lots of wild life as well as glaciers, so we put it off for another time. Instead, took some of the trails near-by despite the light rain and cold.
Wanted to see picturesque Hope and the views Hope Highway has to offer. Good choice. The road is very good and only lightly traveled. Will boondock somewhere along here tonight. Hope is very SMALL but lovely, located on the other side of Turnagain Arm. So we got to see Turnagain Arm from the Seward Highway and then from Hope Highway. Stopped at Tito’s Discovery Cafe in Hope for dinner and a piece of their Key Lime Pie. The pie was great. A nice, friendly town as small towns tend to be.