© 2011 jemma

A week in Anchorage

Well here we are in ALASKA!! Well a part of Alaska, Anchorage in fact and it is quite nice.

On our packing list for camping next week, we had a list of about 20 items that we needed, including multiple thermals, 100% DEET mozzie spray – which is NEEDED HERE!! – jumpers, warm coats etc. So when we got here and it was sunny and nice and warm, I was very happy because I had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.

Our week began on a sunny Monday afternoon as we walked around Anchorage checking out the sights. They are obsessed with hunting and fur trading here, oh and tourist stores, there are hundreds of those too. We took the old trolley about town and got ourselves acquainted with down town and beyond. Jess’ highlights were the underground house and the massive water airport and mine was earthquake park. In 64′ there was a 9.2 earthquake and following tsunami here and the ground basically broke up and you can see it.

After the trolley we made our way to the Grocery store. On the way we met the local reindeer in someone’s front yard named ‘Star’ and watched the people flying kites on the Denali strip. It was a lovely sunny day, which lasted till about 11pm.

The next day we planned to go bike riding, however by the afternoon it was raining so instead we booked our 26 Glacier cruise – for next weekend – and got hot chocolates and cakes from the Speciality Cake shop. We then wandered all about town (I mentioned all the tourist stores?) and a little walk along the Coastal path and found the first 5 planets on the planet walk. We even went to the mall, or as I like to call it the small shopping centre and Jess got a reindeer hot dog from a street vendor.

Wednesday was much the same as Tuesday. That morning Jess and I had accidentally slept in – first time in four months – and so he had to work later. That afternoon we headed to the Ulu factory – knife factory just in case you wanted to know what it was – and then wandered the town again because it was raining…again. We went to see Capitan cook however – first white guy to find Anchorage – and then had to run home from the liquor store to watch the Canucks first game in the Stanley cup play-offs. They won…whoo hoo!!

We actually had plans for Thursday – I know you’re surprised – and had booked a cheap tour of the Turnagain arm (a water way then stretches into the Cook inlet that has massive tidal differences) and the Conservation centre. They picked us up from the hotel and drove us out there explaining the sights along the way. It is a beautiful drive out along the coast, and I was looking for Belugas but didn’t see any.

We got to the Conservation centre and began the tour. Basically like Dubbo Zoo, you stay in the car and then stop and walk to see the things you want. The first animals we saw were the Moose, and this one came so close we actually got to pat it – even the antlers. Jess wanted to touch the Musk-ox but they weren’t as receptive, however we got to see the reindeer, elk and caribou all with full antlers. Very cool. The saddest thing we saw was one of the black bears pacing and an bald eagle with only one wing as it had been shot. Actually all the animals were in there mostly because their parents, themselves or their species had been shot. Go Alaska.

When we got back in town we decided to do the ghost tour. Now as I have mentioned numerous times, the sun doesn’t go down till very late and I have never done a ghost tour in the sunlight. It was ok though, mostly about the history of Anchorage and murders and such that have occurred there. Everyone else was actually from Anchorage and all had NEVER done a ghost tour before – even the guide had only done one! So I don’t know what they where expecting but I know what I was expecting, and the way Jess was too busy watching the traffic and not listening, showed our level of enthusiasm. Oh well, I have learnt something interesting about Anchorage and saw a haunted toilet.

On Friday it was raining and so cycling was cancelled once more. We had already visited all the tourist shops in town so there wasn’t much else to do, and that made me sad. I was sooooo cross at the weather and even an ice cream did not cheer me up, or a walk in the rain. The only place we had not visited was the Anchorage Museum. We walked over and was informed that if we walked back out and came back in an hour and a half it would be free to get in. So we walked back to the cake shop and got hot drinks and cakes to pass the time.

When we did go back, it was the best museum that we have been to. Great art, old photos, displays and Native artefacts. It was just so fantastic and we learnt heaps. The best part Jess would argue was the kids section. This was museum meets science centre, but a cool high quality science centre that has awesome things to do. I don’t think I have seen Jess as excited in a museum before. He spend half and hour at the bubbles and 3 hours later we were out there, to a sunny 9pm, I had a smile on my face and tomorrow was Saturday!!

The next morning we woke up, packed, and walked 15min down the road to the hotel organised by our tour company. Luckily the hotel had a spare room and we were able to dump our bags and head to the famous weekend markets. These markets only run on Sat and Sun from 10am till 6pm. They are massive and full of people and things to taste – though Jess said he thought the stall holders didn’t appreciate it. There were lots of crafty stores and lots that sell mammoth tusk jewellery and antler jewellery. We didn’t buy anything special, I bought corn on the cob and Jess bought Halibut bits.

After the markets, although it looked and felt like rain, we decided to hire bikes and ride the 14 mile coastal path to Kincaid park. It was a great 3 hour ride that took us along the mud flats and through the parks and forests surrounding Anchorage. We found the last planets to complete our solar system pictures and rode all the way up the steep hill to Kincaid park. And let me tell you it was a steep hill that felt like it would never end. We were on high moose alert on the way back, and after we had stopped to take pictures of Fireweed Island I thought I heard a bird in the bushes and turned to see a massive moose looking at me. It wasn’t just one moose though, it was a mama moose and a baby. It was an awesome feeling.

That night we had an early dinner – had to be up at 4:30 to get to the train to Seward – at Humpy’s famous seafood and ale house. Jess got Alaska king crab and I got a burger. Jess was in heaven, and when the Canucks game came on he was very happy (they won if you are wondering).

So tomorrow we head down to Seward for our next adventure camping and sea kayaking around the Kenai Peninsula.

Can’t wait. Hopefully won’t be eaten by a bear. 🙂