THURSDAY, JULY 5, 2012 – JUNEAU >> ANCHORAGE >> GIRDWOOD, AK
T.J. and I ate breakfast at the Capital Café in the Baranof Hotel. He didn’t like his reindeer sausage. We took a Capital Cab to the airport. We saw the Mendenhall Glacier again as our plane left Juneau.
Upon landing in Anchorage, we rented a car at 2:45 pm and drove to the Ship Creek Bridge to view the king salmon that are supposed to be running from early June until mid-July. There were no salmon in the creek – and no fisherman. There was not much to see. We did see Ulu knives being made in the factory next to the creek.
In 1915, the city of Anchorage started as a tent city along the shores of Ship Creek which was the base site for construction of the Alaska Railroad. The tents were quickly replaced with storefronts and homes along the grid of numbered avenues and lettered streets that still make up Anchorage’s downtown. Anchorage has since grown to be Alaska’s largest city with a population of 298,000. 40% of Alaska’s population currently resides in Anchorage.
After grabbing some crab nuggets and a burger at Humpy’s, we walked back to our car.
We drove to the head of the Tony Knowles Trail (Anchorage’s most popular walking, biking, and jogging trail), then to Earthquake Park (the woods where an entire neighborhood slid into the ocean during a 1964 earthquake), and finally to Kincaid Park.
Kincaid Park is awesome! There are lots of trails through the 1,400-acre forest – although they’re not well marked. Besides the planet walk, soccer fields, someone flying a kite, ATVs and mountain bikers, we saw dirt bike motocross – which is annoying when you’re hiking – but really amazing when you stop to watch. T.J. got some great motocross pictures with his new camera.
Kincaid Park has the largest moose population in Anchorage. According to posted signs, moose and bear had been spotted on the trails earlier that day. We walked out to Little Campbell Lake. No moose, no bears – Darn!
At 8:15 pm, we got back to our car and got on AK 1 – Seward Highway which runs next to the Alaska Railroad tracks. We passed a train on our 40 mile trip south to Girdwood. We stopped along the way to look at kitesurfers. We didn’t see any whales at Beluga Point. It was such a beautiful drive! I was happy that T.J. was driving so I could enjoy the breathtaking views of the ocean and mountains along Turnagain Arm, a portion of Cook Inlet where there are huge tide swings.
Girdwood is a ski resort town with a population of about 2,000 people.
We stopped at an ice cream shop in Girdwood before arriving at the luxurious Aleyska Ski Resort, nestled in the Chugach Mountains at the foot of Mt. Aleyska. Hotel Aleyska is stunning inside and out.
At 10:15 pm, I went to the hot tub and enjoyed the gorgeous view. I talked to a couple from New York who gave me some pointers for when I get to Denali. Today, I don’t recall what any of those pointers are. Warmed up, I went back to the hotel room and called it a night. The hotel room has a doorbell, a lighted Do Not Disturb sign, a towel heater, and good chocolates!