Amazing Alaksa - Part II

This post is the second part of our amazing trip to Alaska on the occasion of our 2nd anniversary (the first was a cruise to Bahamas). You can find the previous post on our Alaska trip here.

After completing the most adventurous and exciting activity of glacier climbing at Matanuska Glacier on Day 1, now it is time for some glacier cruise on Day 2 and trekking on Day 3.

Our day 2 activity in our travel plan would take us to the tiny town of Whittier, which is 2 hrs from Palmer and 1.5 hrs from Anchorage. Most famous glacier cruises into the Prince William Sound area start from this small town where 90% of the population lives in a single building and there is no bank or FedEx delivery. Another interesting feature is that this town is separated from the rest by a tunnel which only opens once an hour for passenger cars from one side. It opens to trains and traffic from the other side during that hour. Make note of the tunnel timings (available on the internet) and plan your trip accordingly so not to miss the cruise. Whittier is in the heart of temperate rain forest and gets about 16 feet of rain and 20 feet of snow a year, so we can't really complain that it rained a lot on the day of our glacier tour too. We took the 'Glacier Quest Cruise' of Phillips Cruises and saw Blackstone, Beloit and other tide water glaciers (that's what they call the glaciers that end in sea, lake or river waters). We saw them calve too (break to produce detached pieces or icebergs), though in small portions. We also spotted some playful sea otters, a bald eagle and thousands of black-legged kittiwakes (migratory birds) during the 3.75 hr cruise.

Our next destination was Seward and so we resumed our journey on the beautiful Seward highway. It is the same highway we took  to reach Whittier and is probably the most beautiful highway I ever traveled on. We saw what I call 'the designer hills' and the crystal clear lakes, lush vegetation and snow capped mountain peaks and a rainbow too. We reached Seward in the evening, had fish & chips in a restaurant in the downtown area (loved them - so fresh and very tasty) and went to our B&B - Ballaine House Lodging. It is a historic home built by one of Seward's founding fathers and currently owned by Marilee, our wonderful host for the next two days.

Our day 3 activity in our travel plan is Harding Ice Field Trek - a 6 mile trek on a hill adjacent to the Exit Glacier. The hill was densely covered with trees throughout and flowers occasionally and we picked up and ate wild berries along the way. This trek allows you look at Exit Glacier from different heights and you get an unparalleled view once you reach the top of the cliff. You can even climb higher than that, but we stopped there. We saw a big black bear strolling at some distance on the top of the cliff and my husband was extremely happy that he could spot a bear. For me, sitting on the top of that cliff at such close distance to a snow peak and overlooking a massive glacier was the second highlight of the trip, and something not to be missed. 

View from 'Top of the Cliff'on the Harding Ice Field Trek

After a 6 hour long trek, we had 'Beer Battered Deep Fried Halibut Chunks' (most popular snack in that area) and went back to the comfort of our B&B. Our hostess is very warm and friendly and made us completely feel at home. She allowed us to pick from her large selection of DVDs and we went to bed watching 'The Edge', a movie also set in Alaska.

Day 4 is our last day in Alaska and it is also our anniversary day, so we decided to just take it easy and relax. That was our plan for the day :) I ordered anniversary T-shirts for both of us with our pictures printed on them (a little surprise for my husband) and donning them, we posed for several photos on that day. We headed to Anchorage and stopped at various points on the Seward Highway to have lunch, click pictures, watch the Beluga Whales and just sit back and enjoy the pleasant weather.

We had an early dinner in Anchorage and reached the airport at 8:30 p.m, spent a few hours there before we boarded the red-eye flight back to Phoenix. That was our Alaska experience which would stay with us forever.

If we had an extra day, we would have gone to Homer and probably to Denali if we had more. But, we had great fun as it is and think of it as one of the most beautiful trips ever! We were lucky to have a great weather too. Feel free to drop a comment if you need more information or help with planning your trip. Would be happy to help :)

P.S: It would a crime not to mention that Alaska Tour Saver or Northern Lights coupon book is a must and a great money saver for your Alaska trip. It is valid for most of the activities and you can even buy used book on e-bay :)


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