Seward, Alaska is about a 2.5 hour drive from Anchorage and it’s one of the most scenic drives you’ll ever take. I drove there in May, just at the start of everything leafing out and wildflowers starting to bloom. On the way to Seward, I stopped off at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (one hour south of Anchorage at mile 79), home to musk ox, caribou, wood bison, and elk, even though the black and brown bears were what I came to view. A new walkway allowed me to view black bears at eye level, and a separate enclosure for a couple of brown bears, allowed me to watch them playing and wrestling in the water in much the same way they would in the wild.
Dropping into Seward over Moose Pass, I decided to eat at Chinook’s on the harbor, a place that came highly recommended by the Alaska Morris staff. I drank a cold pint of Fire Engine Red while I waited for the smoked scallop mac ‘n cheese and watched a bald eagle preen its feathers atop one of the masts of the boats. I don’t even like scallops, but the dish was as promised–amazingly good.
After that, I checked into the Seward Windsong Lodge, a series of cabins tucked away in the forest with some peek-a-boo views of the surrounding mountains. Ideally situated between town and Exit Glacier, I took the opportunity of the long daylight hours to drive 7 more miles down the road to Exit Glacier for a mild, flat, easy one mile loop to the viewpoint where I practiced taking photos of the glacier and river in a bright glare of evening sun.
The next day, I headed out early to catch my wildlife and glacier cruise with Kenai Fjords Tours across Resurrection Bay and into the heart of the spectacular Kenai Fjords National Park. The 6-hour trip afforded views of breaching humpbacks, pods of Oreo-colored Orcas, sea otters, puffins (tuffted and horned), sea lions, Dall porpoises, and harbor seals. Pulling up along side Aialik Glacier, we watched chunks of ice calve into the channel.
Later that afternoon, I strolled along the biking/walking path at Resurrection Bay and took photos of bald eagles fighting in the air over a fish. Sea otters played in the water in front of me as the fishing boats came in for the day.
A trip to the Alaska Sealife Center showed me first-hand the conservation and rehabilitation work that is informing marine biologists all over the world. Plus, you get to see some of the rescued seals and sea lions up close and personal.
I capped off my 48 hours in Seward mushing with Seavey’s Ididaride. Our guide hooked up a team of Alaskan huskies to a wheeled vehicle and we took off through the woods. The dogs would have kept running. In fact, slowing them down required effort. The tour ended with a look at the kennel and the chance to hold two-week old pups.
Dinner back at the Resurrection Roadhouse filled me up and allowed me to get some shut eye before driving back to Anchorage early the next morning.