First Time in Seward

First time in Seward.  First time having a sleepover in someone else’s rig,  First time for Lee having a birthday in Alaska.  First time on the Kenai peninsula.  There were many possible first times for this post but I decided to stick with my favorite part of the day, which happened in Seward, but that is at the very end. Oh, and grab a cup of something, because this is a long one!  Lee and I packed up the truck and got out pretty early on Saturday, his birthday.  We knew we had a couple of stops we wanted to make, and also new roads to explore, so we told Kelly and Bill we would absolutely make it to their place by dinner, but weren’t sure exactly what time.  Several weeks prior Kelly and Bill (or B/K for short) had offered to allow us to sleep over at their rig, so we wouldn’t have to pack ours up or pay for a place to stay in the Kenai.  It was an incredibly generous offer, and Lee for the first time ever agreed to stay at their place.

Lee has never been a huge fan of sleeping in other people’s houses, and I can probably count on less than two hands the amount of times he has done it since we have been married.  Staying over in a rig is even tougher, because you are cramming four people into a 400 sq ft foot space, but Kelly said she and Bill loved to have people stay with them and it’s one of the things she misses from living in her sticks and bricks house.  So we accepted with gratitude and off we went with a truck full of stuff to stay with them.  The day started out really great with our first ever baby moose sighting.  It was kind of sad since the mother was nowhere in sight, but I was really glad I got to see a juvenile somewhat close up.

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Our next stop was a sort-of “favor” for another friend of ours, Deb and Steve.  They had bought a Bigfoot trackable geocache item and it had made its way to pretty close to us in Alaska. Trackables have a unique number, and their own webpage, so the originator can watch them travel around the globe.  Cool concept, but sometimes they can get lost, or stuck in a place. This one hadn’t moved for a while so Deb told us about it, and thought it would be cool if we picked it up.  We do geocaching on occasion (Steve and Deb just broke 1,000 caches found) and Lee likes it, so I thought “sure, why not, quick side trip, we grab it and move it along”.  This is where the story gets funny.  I love Deb to pieces, and she is an incredibly low maintenance kind of friend, but every time  she really wants something (which is an extremely rare occurrence) I end up doing something incredibly physical. Because of her I have climbed to the top of a large hill in the Arizona desert and I have climbed to a glacier lake in Glacier National Park.  So really I should have known that no way would this simple request be so simple.

We found the road off HWY 1 and using the geocaching app navigated numerous side streets until the road hit a dead-end.  Let me show you what happened from here with pictures…

Dead end road

Dead end road

Do we take the left or right?

Do we take the left or right?

We went left

We went left.

After walking for some time (and reading the clues) we realized we had missed the path, so we went back up the road and saw an unmarked trail.

Following the unmarked trail

Following the unmarked trail

Saw this sign

Saw this sign

Cool mushrooms along the way I had never seen before

Cool mushrooms along the way I had never seen before

The grass got very high

The grass got very high

And became less and less of a path

And became less and less of a path

You really don't want to see this many berries when you are in tall grass in Alaska. At this point I was fondly thinking of my bear horn which was of course back in the truck

You really don’t want to see this many berries when you are in tall grass in Alaska. At this point I was fondly thinking of my bear horn which was of course back in the truck

We finally stopped at this beautiful visit

We finally stopped at this beautiful vista.

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Lee realized that somehow we had gone to far

Lee realized that somehow we had gone too far

So we headed back following the GPS directions

So we headed back, following the GPS directions

Which led us climbing a hill in very thick brush

Which led us climbing a hill in very thick brush

Oh did I mention these giant sticker leaves can cause blisters on unprotected skin

Oh did I mention these giant sticker leaves can cause blisters on unprotected skin

About the time I had completely lost my sense of humor about the whole thing we found another path. As a side note scroll up to the pic right before the trail sign and see where Lee was standing. That is where this unmarked path started

About the time I had completely lost my sense of humor about the whole thing we found another path. As a side note scroll up to the pic right before the trail sign and see where Lee was standing. That is where this unmarked path started

Lee was victorious

Lee was victorious

And we retrieved the trackable

And we retrieved the trackable

Ok so Lee was happy, but I was still not over the wooded hill climb, and sorry Deb, I was not feeling very charitable towards you at that moment, but then as we wandered down the trail to return to the truck, the most amazing thing happened.  I should say that these adventures Deb gets me to do always end well.  I end up doing or seeing something very cool.  We met a young rock hound playing guitar on that hill in Arizona and in Glacier we went on a hike through dense brush singing ACDC at the tops of our voices to keep bears away.  This time was no different.  We turned a corner and there was a geocacher named Ken in the woods.  Turns out he just hit his 1300th cache and was a member of the Alaska geocaching group.  When we mentioned the bigfoot he laughed and pulled an identical one out of his bag.  I mean seriously, what are the odds?  Super nice guy, we had a great time talking to him, and he even gave us these cool pins that say AlaskaKen on them.  Loved it, and what a lovely birthday suprise for Lee.  So alright Deb, once again you were right, but that doesn’t mean I have to like these little adventures!

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Seriously what are the odds?

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Very cool pins

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This sign would been helpful at the beginning of the path!!

Needless to say, the quick detour took longer than we expected, so we were eating into our time pretty quickly.  We stopped in Palmer for some McDonald’s, and a quick stop at the grocery store (Kelly provided the meat for two dinners and we brought all the sides and dessert) and then it was onto Anchorage.  The drive through Anchorage was a bit tedious, but we made good time, and finally we were on a road we had never been on before.  I knew from some research that the road into Kenai wound through a bay, but was unprepared for how beautiful the landscape was.  The water in the bay was mostly out, and it was cloudy, but it was still stunning. We even stopped and did a quick geocache along the way.y698

 

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Water, mountains, and even a beautiful glacier

Water, mountains, and even a beautiful glacier

For scale see the tiny houses in the front

For scale see the tiny houses in the front

I do have to say that I have done a pretty good job of giving the names of glaciers as we run across them, but when we hit the Kenai we saw so many that this became difficult.  We saw between 8-10 in the weekend we were there and each glacier is unique and utterly beautiful in it’s own way.  I’ll do the best I can to match up the close up and wide shots of the same glaciers, but I cry uncle on naming them all.

We stopped several times long the way, but finally reached Kelly and Bill, well in time for dinner.  They are working at a really great park called Renfro’s Lakeside Retreat which has 8 VERY nice cabins and a small 8 space RV park.  Before dinner we took a quick tour, and it really is a special place.  The cabins are great and the bath house is outstanding with a beautiful shower with no timer and lots of hot water.  Seriously, we loved that shower. After the tour Kelly finished prepping dinner and we had some amazing ribs.  We also had a chance to eat with their boss Gary in the party house and had a really good time.

The party house and office

The party house and office

All guests have access to the full kitchen

All guests have access to the full kitchen

Kelly's view includes Mother Goose Glacier (which is on the top of the mountain covered by a cloud. What a view

Kelly’s view includes Mother Goose Glacier (which is on the top of the mountain covered by a cloud. What a view

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Kelly’s flowers are doing great

They can use any of the boats on the lakje

They can use any of the boats on the lake

One of the smaller cabins

One of the smaller cabins

Really nice inside

Really nice inside

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Did I mention we loved the shower. Look at the smile on Lee's face

Did I mention we loved the shower?

Dinner was fantastic

Dinner was fantastic

Lee, Gary, Kelly, and Bill

Lee, Gary, Kelly, and Bill

After cleaning up we weren’t done yet and finally we got to Seward.  One of the nice things about the sun not setting until 10:30pm is you can really get a lot out of a day, and we went down into town and took the whirlwind tour.  I absolutely loved Seward.  It is by far my favorite port town we have been to, and I can’t wait to go back and spend some more time there.

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Boatyards really lend themselves to black and white photos

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Cute guys cleaning fish

Cute guys cleaning fish

So much fish!!

So much fish!!

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One of the coolest things about the town was all the places to stop and take a picture and everyone got into the action, even Lee without needing prompting.

Loved this one!! Look what Kelly caught

Loved this one!! Look what Kelly caught

Lee carrying on the licking stuff tradition

Lee carrying on Greg’s “licking stuff” tradition

Lee loves these Before I die boards

Lee loves these Before I die boards

He wrote "Do All The Things"

He wrote “Do All The Things”

 

 

We saw where Seward landed

We saw where Seward landed

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Mile 0 of the Iderand race

Mile 0 of the Iditarod race

And this great campground with ocean views (all dry camping $20 a night

And this great campground with ocean views (all dry camping $20 a night

But the very best thing we saw was our first wild sea otter, eating a huge piece of halibut.  It hung out near the dock and ripped into the fish, periodically letting it drop, then taking a deep breath, and going down after it.  He was putting on quite a show and we loved every minute of it.  So we started the day off with a moose, and ended with an otter.  I’d say that’s a pretty good birthday for Lee.

The fish was as long as him

The fish was as long as him

Look at those teeth!!

Look at those teeth!!

Diving!

Diving!

He even played for us a bit between fish bites

He even played for us a bit between fish bites

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So so cool and you should definitely check out Lee’s video.  

And all that was only the first day of our three day weekend.  Next up: Whittier and Lee’s birthday train ride!


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12 thoughts on “First Time in Seward

  1. Oh, but what an adventure, right?! OK, you pick the next one. I’m in! And how crazy the odds that a geocoin we hide on top of a Colorado peak, finds its way to Alaska near you and you actually were the one to find it first!? Just crazy! Glad Lee had a great birthday. Love the baby moose, seal and the black and white boat pics. And FYI, I would never have been in that tall grass. Don’tcha know that’s where the bears hide? ❤

  2. What a wonderful day… geocache adventure included. That’s a step closer to “freedom!!” Yep, just to do something just because you can, not because you have to;o)) Happy Birthday Lee…looks like you really enjoyed your day!!! Amazing Sea Otter photos and video!!!

  3. Great post, and enjoyed reading about the fun geocaching adventure! You two can certainly pack a LOT into 24hours…..hugs, to you both.

  4. I love the pictures of the sea otters, so cute. And of course of the baby moose. Looked like a wonderful, long day. Happy Birthday to Lee.

  5. I am so enjoying riding along with your Alaskan adventures…that was the cutest chubbiest otter ever💕❤️

  6. I love the one you captioned ‘Look at those teeth’ I think more look at that smile.. It’s great living through your pictures and time there. Alaska is a breath taking and beautiful place on our earth. Greg and I were there in 1999. The scenery will never leave my mind.

  7. I’m so Happy that y’all found our Sasquatch geo trackable!!! It’s amazing that it made it’s way from us in Colorado up to your zone in Alaska!!! And to see that Alaska Ken bumps into you with one of his own too! It’s the coolest trackable I’ve ever seen, and I’m loving the fact the it’s now is safe hands and traveling you our buddies from the Awesome Class of 2014!!! And those pins Ken gave you are cool too! Thank You both very much!!! Keep on Caching, it’s been amazing us with what it helps us uncover that we would have never seen any other way!

  8. So happy you got to see the otter! We’ve seen him a few times (well, not sure it’s always the same one but there is usually one or more in the marina) but this time he was eating! What a show he put on for us! Very special! I could have watched him all day! So cute!

  9. Pingback: First Time Camping on a Christmas Tree Lot – Camper Chronicles

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