Drive the great bay that stretches south of Anchorage, passing expansive views of snow-topped mountains plunging into the sea, and you will enter the Kenai Peninsula.
We stopped first at Whittier, a fishing town at the foot of a glacier. Not surprisingly, many people come to the Kenai to fish for halibut and salmon.
We prefer hiking to fishing so we headed up to a pass to a beautiful view of Portage Glacier and Lake.
Seward and Chaina Head State Park
Further west, on the edge of the Kenai Fjords National Park, the town of Seward comes alive in the summer with fishing excursions, kayaking and hiking. We took off on a coastal hike at 4:45 am to catch the low tide and wandered for 12 miles through a rainforest, chest-high salmonberries and the pebble beach in Caines Head State Park.
The trails took us through a rainforest with tropical plants and moss that buried trees in green.
And back to the beach.
The next morning we left again at dawn to ride-along on a water taxi dropping off and picking up kayakers in the fjords. For four hours we saw mountains, seas and glaciers, including the broad Northwestern Glacier.
We hiked a mile and a half up to a meadow overlooking the Exit Glacier. Another mile and a half (straight up!) and we would have made it to the Harding Icefield, a 300-square-mile sheet of thick glacial ice that feeds all of the fjords’ glaciers. It is massive and definitely worth a visit on another day. From the meadow we could see a dozen people who had climbed on top of the Exit Glacier to examine close-up the blue ice in the cracks and crevasses.
Further down through the Kenai Peninsula we landed in Homer, an arts-oriented town with a long beach, good food and a thriving farmers market. We only stayed long enough to be picked up by friends of Jerome and Janis and whisked out to their cabin across Katchemak Bay. We saw bird rooks, otters and whales on the way.
The next day we got dropped at a beach and hiked up to another melting glacier.
A lovely time had by all on the Kenai Peninsula.
Glacial Alaska – Visitors flock to see the glaciers while they are still here.
Gold Rush Alaska – Tour a local history museum in Hope, Alaska
Alaska Wildflowers - With 20 hours of sunlight, the blooms can go crazy overnight.
Listen as Johnny Cash & Lynn Anderson tear it up.
Where we are today.