Kenai Fjords, established as a national park in 1980, covers over 600,000
acres including 400 miles of coastline and has some of Alaska's finest and most
accessible coastal scenery, glacial landscapes, and diverse marine wildlife.
The park contains the Harding Icefield (70-mile long and 30-mile wide), one of
the largest ice fields in the United States. This vast expanse of ice
feeds at 38 glaciers that flow down from the heights to form the park's deep
valleys and fjords.
Getting there ...
||This is our first visit to Alaska. We flew to
Anchorage and planned to visit Kenai Fjords and
Denali National Parks in this trip. The drive from Anchorage to
Seward wound through the scenic Seward Highway along the Turnagain Arm where
Captain Cook was forced to turn again in 1778 after discovering that it was
impossible to navigate a route between Cook Inlet and Prince William Sound.
It was a smooth and relaxed 2.5-hour drive, and it was already 9:30PM when
we got to Seward. Luckily, Alaska did not get dark until 10PM at
this time of the year.
The Second Day ...
- Alaska SeaLife Center
Our original plan was to go to Exit Glacier (and maybe hike the Harding
Icefield Trail). But after checking with the ranger at the visitor
center, we were told that the road to Exit Glacier was flooded and closed
due to the rain and glacier melt the day before. We had to change our
plan to visit a local attraction, Alaska SeaLife Center.
On the Resurrection Bay waterfront in Seward, the Alaska SeaLife center is
not a big aquarium (compared with Monterey Aquarium), but it has good
displays of local marine lives like
Steller sea lion, and plenty
of seabirds (puffins,
common murres. etc.).
- Exit Glacier
After spending about 2 hours in the SeaLife Center, we decided to go to
Exit Glacier to check it out. The road was closed at the last one mile
before entering the park. We could only glance at the glacier from a
distance, and we headed back to Seward for lunch.
- Two-Lake Trail
After lunch, we took an easy two-mile Two-Lake Trail in Seward. Is
was drizzling and wet on the trail, but it was a nice afternoon walk with
our rain gear on.
The Third Day ...
- Aialik Glacier
When we got close to the shore of Aialik Glacier, the captain shut off the
engine and we were drifting among ice blocks. It became so quiet
that no one dared to speak loud. Occasionally the glacier gave in
and crashed into the sea, and the splash and sound made you feel the power
of nature even we were just observers.
The Fourth Day ...
- Exit Glacier
Finally it was a clear day for our last stay in Seward/Kenai Fjords.
Our original plan was to take a
helicopter ride and dog sled on the glacier. However, there was another
problem with the clear weather: it was too windy today. We were told
to wait and see if the wind may die down during the day. While we were
waiting, we headed to Exit Glacier to finish what we planned to do on the
first day here (but we could not do the Harding Icefield trail this time
because of time constraint).
The road was still closed for the last one mile. We had to hike this
additional mile through the slightly flooded paved road. The clear and
blue sky made the glacier ice look even more blue.
We went back to Seward for lunch, and still had no good news from the
helicopter tour. It was so windy that my tripod fell down, along with my
camera when I was setting up a family picture. Luckily, my camera was still
intact with only a few scratches.
- Seavey's Iditarod Sled Dog
To make up for the cancelled helicopter/dog sled tour, we went to a much
cheaper option: Seavey's Iditarod Sled Dog.
It had a 2-mile dog sled ride on wheel in summer. Iris was so excited
to see many dogs, especially when we visited and held a few puppies which
were just a few days old.
It was time to drive back to Anchorage where we will stay for one night to
prepare to go to our next destination, Denali
We stopped by at the Beluga Point on the Seward Highway to enjoy the nice
view of the Turnagain Arm.
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