Archive for August, 2015

Alaska-The Last Frontier

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

July 1st-  Sitting at airport ready to take off. Emergency shute accidentally released by some numbskull leaving the plane Three hour delay. Eight hour flight to Anchorage, and only complimentary snacks available unless you are prepared to pay $9.00 for a stale sandwich from one of the ancient relics (flight attendants.)

July 2nd– Drove to Whittier from our base in Anchorage via a very unique tunnel. Boarded a 26 glacier boat cruise on Prince William Sound. Our table companions were Jason and Karl from San Diego…nice couple. Great clam chowder in Whittier. Drive from Anchorage to Whittier was a scenic delight.

July 3rd– Day in Anchorage. Ended up at Urgent Care Center for my wife. Being a world traveler caught up with her. She was the victim of a stomach bug she picked up in Mexico. Segway Tour-somewhat novel but way over-priced. Two victims of Russ Reno’s verbage. McGinley’s Irish pub served my wife  with the biggest portion of corn beef and cabbage I’ve ever seen.

July 4th-City Market near hotel where I purchased my kangaroo leather hat following much persuasion from my dear wife.  Independence Day Parade in Anchorage. Merriweathers, folk group from Oregon, relayed story of Lewis and Clark’s discovery of the West Passage via a series of songs. Fat Pizza restaurant served great pizza, made special because they offered anchovies as a topping.

July 5-Drove to Talkeetna, passing through Wassaila, home of Sarah Palin along the way- flight around Mt. McKinley and a glacier landing. There were only ten passengers plus the passenger on the glacier surrounded by an imposing mountain range. The silence was deafening. Spectacular, breath taking, jaw dropping experience. Stayed at  Denali Fireside Cabins which were very comfortable. Sampled the”Irish Death” brew at a local hostelry, and survived to tell the tale.

July 6th– Relatively peaceful day In Talkeetna. Breakfast at The Roadhouse was a real treat. Drove to Lake Bayer, rented a canoe for a gentel paddle to soak in more serene views of Mt. McKinley from the middle of the lake.

The Road House Café, Talkeetna

The Road House Café, Talkeetna

July 7th-Drove to Cooper’s Landing for an overnight stay at Summit Lake Lodge on the way to Homer. They boast they are famous for their “bloody Mary’s,” but probably the worst BM I’ve tasted in 20 years. Water was turned off at 9.00pm for repairs, and mine host’s response was “You’re not going to die!” He didn’t offer a discount so I crucified him in Trip Advisor!

July 8th-On the road to Homer we embarked on a detour toRussian River Falls. 21/2 mile hike to falls to watch salmon leaping their way up river to spawn against monumental obstacles-rapids, bears, eagles, rocks. No sign of wildlife apart from seagulls.

Arrived in Homer which was a bit of a culture shock, The Spit was festooned with hundreds of RVS, and very industrialised supporting commercial fishing. Homer is the halibut fishing capital of the world! The Salty Dog was a great pub to visit on The Spit with oodles of character and atmosphere. Walls and ceiling are adorned with hundreds of dollar bills signed by all and sundry. They only serve bottled beer, wine and spirits. Alaskan Amber Ale was my favorite.

Cabin was very rustic with a spare bed chained to the wall. Rust-colored water emanated from the faucets-slightly off putting. We did enjoy panoramic views of the bay when the clouds lifted. The drop in temperature  between Anchorage and Homer was in the region of 25 degrees.

July 9th-We flew to Brooks Falls on a sea plane to view the bears fishing for salmon. (approx. 11/2 hour flight.) Spectacular!!! The highlight was a bear and a bald eagle simultaneously catching a salmon-breathtaking. The food chain was operating before our very eyes- bears catching the hapless salmon and seagulls feeding off the scraps. Watching the bears fishing for salmon was an unforgettable experience.

July 10th-We stayed around Homer to recharge the batteries. Drove up Skyline Drive for a bird’s eye view of Homer. We visited historic Homer which resembled old Florida, and  walked along the beach. We purchased halibut freshly caught that morning on The Spit from The Auction Block, and later that evening grilled out at the cabin. A group of Eagles were soaring idly by giving us a farewell show. We enjoyed views of a volcano from the cabin which erupts every ten years; the volcano and not the cabin. Its about due.

July 11th-We reluctantly returned to Anchorage to fly home not before we sunk a couple of pints of Guinness in McGinley’s. For anyone contemplating a similar trip to Alaska it’s quite expensive but thoroughly worthwhile.

For those who can’t read, photos to follow.