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.
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…
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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