June 4-11: Exploring Alaska. Alaska has been amazing. I’m still not used to the fact that the sun never sets. My body feels off lately. It really is nice though. If we decide we needed to travel later in the day, we know that the sunlight won’t go out. That’s a huge reason why we don’t like to travel late at night. We don’t like setting Callie in the dark. It seems like we have been able to get a lot of things done ever since we entered Alaska. Thank you God for the never ending light source! Let’s talk about our plans while we are in Alaska. July 13, we start our campground hosting position at a campground in the Denali State Park. That will last for a little less than 2 months. The summer season is extremely short in this part of the country. By the time we start making our way out of Alaska after the job, winter will be coming. It will be nice to be able to enjoy the peak season here. We planned to have a week and a half to kill before we started the position. First things first, visiting family. Alec has some family, Aunt Kathy, Uncle Rich, Cousin Mike/ wife Kerry, in the Anchorage area. We spent a few days exploring Anchorage with them. I was very surprised by how big Anchorage is. I was expecting it to be a small town for some reason. I was wrong. There is a Target, Walmart, Costco, shopping malls, etc everywhere. That sounds very standard, but, we haven’t seen any of those stores in a long time. We have been getting used to the small town grocery stops. It’s been refreshing to have those amenities back. Aunt Cathy made sure that we saw the downtown areas, the local shopping areas, and the neighborhood walks. It’s always lovely to see someone else’s backyard. We didn’t do a whole lot of outdoor activities while being in Anchorage. It was in the lower 90s here, making some record temperatures for the area. I know I was born and raised in Florida, but, we haven’t had to deal with that kind of weather for the past few months. We have had lovely weather. Living in our RV with that heat was like living in an oven. Nothing we did seemed to help. There is an option for A/C in the RV, but, Alec needed a capacitor to run it, which we don’t have on hand. Like I said, heat hasn’t been an issue for us until that moment. With that all being said, we couldn’t stand the heat anymore and had to move.
For that move, we picked and went to the Kenai Peninsula, which is just south of Anchorage. For our campground, we found a fantastic and free location called the Upper Lake Trail pull off. Alec found the campsite on IOverlander. Not only was the weather dramatically cooler, but, we found a great spot shaded by the trees and right next to the water.
We literally have been falling asleep to the sounds of crashing waves. So peaceful. The one and only thing I would say about moving to the Kenai Peninsula is that we now had to battle the local forest fire smells/ smoke. The Kenai has been getting slammed with forest fires lately. Our campground is far enough away from the fires to get us out to harm, but, we still have been dealing with the smoke and smell of it.
Headaches and lack of views have been the worst of it for us. The Kenai Peninsula is just gorgeous. The first town to explore was Seward, Alaska. This beautiful town is home to the Kenai Fjords National Park.
That makes 21 visited national parks for us. We found that most of this national park is only accessible through a $200/person boat tour. It’s interesting to me that a lot of the Alaskan NP are only accessible through boat or plane. Due to the lack of views from the forest fires and the crazy prices, we decided to skip the boat tour. Maybe one day! It does sound amazing though. It is a 6-8 hour tour (depending on the one you select) that takes you right next to beautiful glaciers, by sea life, and through the mountains. Alec and I both really thought about it before coming to the decision that it wouldn’t be worth it while it was smokey out. The one part of the park that is accessible through car and hiking is the Exit Glacier. One mile hike and you are right next to this beautiful glacier.
We sadly didn’t get to see any wildlife or sea life while we were there. Next time. After the hike, we decided that a beer would be our reward. We went to the Seward Brewing Company right off the main downtown strip.
I heard one of the locals talking all about the Wonton Nachos. “You have to get them!” We didn’t get them ourselves, but, if you happen to get to the Seward Brewing Company try them out for us. Another delicious place we found while exploring Seward is the Sea Bean Cafe. They have the most amazing GF Nutella bread ever! Go check it out. It’s right on the main downtown area.
Homer, Alaska was up next. Homer was about 3 hours from our campground, so we made sure to make a day of it.
Homer is the halibut fishing capital of the world. It is also home to the Homer Spit. This is a long strip of land that is full of shops, restaurants, and beaches. We made sure to go into all the little shops, looking around at all the artwork.
It was a lovely town. We did not get the halibut while we were there. We talked to a local who said it wasn’t that good and very overpriced. We instead got the cod fish and chips. It was $10 cheaper and absolutely delicious.
Hope, Alaska was a place that we visited next in the Kenai Peninsula. We found out about this small town through a couple we started talking to while drinking our beers in Seward. “It’s like stepping into a different time.” Our curiosity got the best of us and we had to figure it out for ourselves. When they said that this town was small, they weren’t joking. It was small! I’m talking a museum, local library, and 4 little restaurants type of small. They only have a census population of 192 according to my friend Google. It was like stepping into a different time. All of the buildings looked like they were built in the earlier 1900s. It is best known for the salmon fishing and gold mining. I guess you can catch a mean salmon if you fish there. We didn’t experience this ourselves, but, we were told that there are amazing hiking trails throughout the Hope area. Just in case you were looking for something else to do in this tiny town. I will say the most beautiful part of our day was heading east on the Portage Glacier Rd towards Whittier, Alaska. Whittier, Alaska is rich in WW2 history. We were curious to visit until we realized that we had to pay a $13 toll road fee to enter Whittier. That curiosity quickly went down once we saw that price. You don’t really have to go into Whittier to see the beauty I was talking about. Just before entering Whittier, there are pull offs to overlook Portage Lake. That lake is surrounded by glacier-filled mountains.
It was the best part of the day. If you are heading into the Kenai Peninsula area, go towards Whittier and see those glaciers. They are outstanding.
Complete side-note! I do realize that I haven’t been posting consistently. I decided that I was going to go down to a blog post once a week. Friday will be the posting day! Once we head into our campground hosting position, we may not have cell service, but, I will try my absolute best to upload when I can! For anyone who actually reads this, thanks for being patient!
New blog posts every Friday.