Friday, 4 September 2015

Mount Alyeska & Girdwood, Alaska

Our last night in Alaska was spent at Mount Alyeska Resort, the largest hotel we’ve stayed in for a while, but very nice.
Our room rate included a trip up the mountain on the tram the next day.

At the top of the mountain we’d hoped to be able to hike a short trail, but as there was still snow on the top it was closed.  

It was a beautiful sunny day and the views were absolutely gorgeous.   What the guy on the tram told us they called 'brochure days', I  can quite see why.

Back at the bottom of the mountain, we headed off to Girdwood and a short walk around town

before enjoying a late lunch at Chair 5 restaurant.

As it was a holiday weekend The Seward Highway was busy with heavy traffic, so that put paid to the hopes we’d have of stopping at some of the viewpoints for one last look at the fabulous views.

Alaska was absolutely fabulous, despite our very mixed weather, we can’t wait to come back.

Have fun, we are!

Gold in the creeks!

On our way to Seward along the Seward Highway we’d passed East Fork and Canyon Creek parking area, but as it was pouring with rain we didn’t stop.   A lovely sunny day on our way back gave us time to have a look around.
In 1890 when gold was discovered near Hope, some miners who’d gone back to the States exaggerated the amount of gold they’d found and triggered a stampede.
Over 3,000 people arrived seeking their fortune, claim jumping was usually settled in meetings and only one miner was ever shot over a disputed claim.
But Canyon Creek produced more gold than anywhere else on the Turnagain Arm and the claims that triggered the stampeded actually ended up being the richest, how weird is that?!

Miners faced a tough slog from Surprise along Sixmile, Canyon, Gulch and East Fork Creeks, definitely not for wimps!

Today it’s a beautiful spot, quiet and peaceful, well it was when we were there, a hiking/biking trail follows the creek along the Seward Highway in and out of the forest for miles.

It’s hard to imagine the difficulties the prospectors faced hauling their packs and equipment through muddy swamps and dense forests as they followed the creeks into the mountains, all chasing their dreams and hoping to make their fortune by finding gold.
Sad to say, even though we looked, we didn't find a single golden nugget lying around anywhere. 

Have fun, we are!

Homer, Alaska

Arriving in Homer, even on a grey, cloudy day the view over Kachemak Bay is absolutely stunning.

Once in town we drove along the East End drive, more gorgeous views and for a little while the sun even came out.

We stayed at Ocean Shores and our room, while very nice, didn’t quite have the view (our view of the bay was over another building) we thought we’d have when we made the booking.   I mentioned this in passing, while chatting with a chap who turned out to be the owner, he said he’d look into it and the next day we moved to an even nicer room that had a fabulous, totally unobstructed view across the bay.   Now that’s what I call service!

This the view from our new room, isn’t it fabulous?

Despite the cloudy day, later that evening there was a most gorgeous sunset.

I forget who recommended it, but we were told that we really shouldn’t miss the Oceans and Islands Visitor Centre, they were right.   The centre is fascinating, with very helpful and informative staff and lots of information about the area. 

A trail from the centre leads down onto wetlands with a boardwalk and birding area, we stood for quite a while watching a sandhill crane poking about in the grass.

We’ve seen sandhill cranes in Arizona, but never quite as up close and personal as this. 

Our reason for walking this way was to find a coffee shop (another recommendation) called The Two Sisters Bakery.   The cakes were truly scrumptious!

From the Skyline Drive we had a great view of Homer Spit.

and across Kachemak Bay.

Down on Homer Spit we enjoyed a walk around the harbor,

the Time Bandit – from Deadliest Catch - was in dock.

Instead of seagulls watching as you sit overlooking the ocean, in Homer there are eagles, which, I have to say, is somewhat unnerving!

We often watched sea otters, which were rather cute, as they drifted along nibbling on their catch.

Although the sun only peeped out a couple of times, before just as quickly disappearing, we had a great time in Homer and definitely hope to return one day.

Have fun, we are!