To be honest, two full days in Alaska did not sound like enough. But I was surprised by how much we were able to see and do in that short of time. I’m typically a planner when I travel but on this trip I went with the flow. We had certain things we wanted to make sure we checked off our list but we weren’t committed to any specific plans.
One thing we did want to do was go on a glacier cruise. We had a few cruises in mind but ended up waiting until the night before to pick one. The cruise we picked was a little further south, so Wednesday morning we headed out bright and early to drive 2 hours down to Seward. The first half of this drive took the same route we drove the day before. The second half, however, was even more remote. It was such a peaceful drive through the mountains and lush pine forests.
In Seward we boarded our boat operated by Kenai Fjords Tours. While this cruise did not get as close to glaciers as some of the other ones we looked at, we were excited for the marine wildlife we would encounter. Even before taking off from the dock, we were able to spot otters in the water.
The tour took us through Resurrection Bay out to the edge of the ocean and then looped around Cape Resurrection to bring us back. The scenic views of pebble shores and cliffs dropping off into the ocean were enough to make this cruise worth it. We first traveled out to Fox Island where we docked for an hour. Along the way we spotted puffins swimming in the water and seals basking in the sun along the shores. Once on Fox Island, we had a salmon and prime rib lunch at the Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge. After, we were able to explore the pebble rock beaches for a bit before heading back to the boat.
From Fox Island, we traveled further out to sea. When we reached the furthest point before turning back, we witnessed a huge orca surface just off the side of our boat. It was so incredible to witness up close!
Soon we realized that we were alongside a super pod of orcas. The captain stopped the boat so we could sit out there for a bit and take in the magnificent view. Along both sides of our boat we spotted orcas surfacing one after another. It’s one of those moments were photos could not even capture how magical it was to see these mammals out in the wild. As we started to turn to head back, we caught one orca jump out of the water several times. It was such a beautiful sight that I will always hold in my heart as special memory from our Alaska trip.
After docking back in Seward we decided to start our drive back to Anchorage and see what we could find along the way. Just outside of Seward, Matt caught a sign for Exit Glacier. We decided to turn off the Highway and see if we could get a good view. About 8 miles out, we parked at the trailhead to Exit Glacier and started the hike up. While we couldn’t get close enough to touch the glacier, within 30 to 45 minutes of hiking we were able to get one of the closest views of a glacier we had the whole trip.
As we got closer you could feel the temperature drop. At the bottom of the glacier there was rushing water coming out where the glacier is melting. Along the path there were markers with various years on it. We found out these markers indicated how far the glacier extended out at that point in time. It’s crazy to see even how much it has melted in the last 10 to 20 years!
It truly was an impressive sight to see. Some day I’d like to tackle the extended hike to the top which takes 6 to 8 hours. But at the top you can actually get onto the glacier!
As we drove back, we took in the scenic views Seward Highway has to offer one more time. Once we got into Anchorage, we went out for a dinner of Fish and Chips from F Street Station before heading back to pack up.
While we were only there a couple days, this was one of my favorite trips I’ve taken. I know there are so many other places to see and explore, but Alaska is definitely a spot I hope to return to soon. I feel like we only had a sampling of the amazing sites and adventures Alaska has to offer!