Here we share with you our experience full of whale watching, hiking and MORE northern light during days 7, 8 and 9 of our Alaskan road trip.
Day 7: Heading to Seward
Next stop on our ultimate road trip was Seward, a seaside community in the Kenai Peninsula. We were in for a super long day of driving, but a scenic one! We packed up our tents, said our goodbyes to Denali National Park and hit the road.
Our first stop was at a tiny town named Talkeetna, the perfect place to stretch our legs and grab a morning coffee. With a population of just over 1000 people, it’s a charming pioneer town, with their main street being only 1 block long! We found a cute cafe to grab a coffee as we walked along the main street, peering into tiny stores selling things like wooden ornaments, paintings and hand made jewellery.
As we continued on we were met with spectacular views as we passed the dramatic shorelines of Turnagain Arm and the jutting peaks of the Chugach Mountains. We made a stop along the coast and watched as trains that seemed to have no end pass us by.
After a full day of driving we made our last stop at Byron Glacier for a little afternoon hike. We followed a winding trail through tall forest, along the path were markers showing dates where the glacier once lay. As the trees began to thin out we could see the spectacular glacier along with views of the rugged cliffs on one side and a gorgeous valley on the other.
After climbing rocks and exploring the area it was time to meet our new camp site. We pulled up right along the beach and found a spot with breath taking views of the ocean and rugged snow capped mountains. We set up camp and gathered around the campfire to share stories and eat s’mores.
Oh, and the night wasn’t over yet. To top it all off we were greeted by a spectacular light show thanks to mother nature. Yep – the northern lights came out to say hello for the second time since our Alaskan adventure began!
Day 8: Humpbacks & Glaciers
It was time to immerse ourselves in the wildlife and glaciers of Alaska’s Kenai Fjords National Park! We woke up bright and early and headed down to Seward’s boat harbour for a day on the water. We had never seen humpback whales or orca in the wild before and knew that if we were to see them this would be the place for it!
After a coffee and a wander along the seaside we jumped on our ferry and set sail. Kenai Fjords National Park was established in 1980 and is one of the most visited national parks in all of Alaska. It is home to the Harding Icefield, one of the largest ice fields in the US. It was named after the numerous fjords carved by glaciers moving down the mountain from the ice field. It is seriously a spectacular place to experience, especially via the water.
Minutes into our journey we spotted a baby humpback whale waving its tail over and over as if saying good morning. We couldn’t believe that we were finally witnessing this beautiful animal in the wild for the first time in one of the most beautiful settings imaginable.
As we made our way along the park our group grabbed some hot drinks and sat together at the top of the boat, enjoying the icy breeze. It was so nice to share this incredible experience with such an amazing group of people. We saw more humpback whales as we made our way to the largest glacier in the park, Aialik Glacier.
We started to make out a white speck in the distance. As we got closer that speck grew to be one of the largest glaciers we had ever seen! Our boat took us right up along the edge as one of the tour guides from the vessel grabbed a large chunk of ice to make Glacier Ice Mojitos – of course we all had to have a cup (or maybe two). With a drink in hand we made our way back to Seward for another night under the stars.
Day 9: A Day of Hiking!
Today was our last day in Seward and we were going to end our time here with a bang! Our mission for the day was to hike the 8.2 mile round trip Harding Icefield Trail. It was the most strenuous hike we had ever experienced, gaining 3,500 feet over a 4.1 mile climb, all the way up to the icefield.
We packed our lunches, put on a few extra layers and set off towards Kenai Fjords National Park. Once we arrived the hike began. The first hour was pretty easy, climbing through the woods with the occasional view of a beautiful glacier. Once we were above the tree line the views took our breath away, we could see for miles!
The incline increased and the hike became tough as it got steeper and steeper. Soon we found ourselves walking through snow and ice, following little orange flags to ensure we were on the right track. After about three hours we finally made it to the Harding Icefield, and it was astounding. The whole hike had amazing views, but from the top we could see what looked like an endless tundra of snow and ice disappearing into the distance. We walked up to the very edge of the ice, and spent some time taking it all in.
As we made our way back down we ran into a few mountain goats chewing away on some greenery. We stopped to watch them for a while getting our breath back to finish our day of hiking. Once we arrived back at camp we were greeted to the most beautiful sunset – Alaska’s beauty never cease’s to amazing us.
Book the Alaskan Wonder with Trek America from $2550US.
Thanks to Trek America for inviting Flying The Nest to experience the Alaskan Wonder tour.