Anchorage and Prince William Sound

We arrived in Anchorage on Friday, August 13th, and went to The Lakefront Anchorage Hotel to check-in. This beautiful wilderness lodge in the heart of the city with sweeping views of float planes on Lake Hood from the deck, Anchorage’s only lakefront hotel. It is one mile from the airport and ten minutes from downtown Anchorage, this Millennium hotel is the perfect place to stay on your Alaskan adventure. We headed to the deck for a drink and appetizers, and had the biggest shrimp, while we soaked up the sunshine. The next day we went to downtown Anchorage and visited the sod-roofed, log cabin Visitor Center and the Alaska Public Lands Information Center run by the National Park Service. We rented bikes in town and rode along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, a 11-mile-long trail along the coast of Anchorage, designated for non-motorized use. At first we saw a female moose and her calf in the woods but we couldn’t get very close. Further along the trail we came upon a bull moose very busy eating the berries from the trees. We stayed and watched him for awhile before moving on. We went to the 49th State Brewing Co, a must visit while in Alaska for dinner. They have the best micro beer and the biggest Alaskan King crab legs I have ever seen. Not to forget the wild mountain blueberry pie for dessert, yummy!!! Click on thumbnail to view image

Anchorage

Prince William Sound

On Bob’s 75th birthday, August 14th, we went on the Prince William Sound 26 Glacier Cruise. The port town of Whittier is the starting point for our exploration. We took the bus from the hotel for the long drive to Whittier. It takes just an hour to reach Whittier, including a two mile trip through a mountain tunnel, called the Whittier Tunnel: Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel. The tunnel is a single lane, with vehicle traffic alternating between each direction every half hour. It is the longest dual-use, or bimodal, highway tunnel in North America. The one-lane tunnel must be shared by cars and trains traveling in both directions. When we arrived in Whittier we boarded the high-speed catamaran run by Phillips Cruises & Tours for our 26 Glacier Cruise to see dynamic glaciers and wildlife up close in College and Harriman Fjords. We spent all day sailing down the Prince William Sound to the head of College Fjord where we saw up close the Harvard Glacier, a large tidewater glacier. The glacier has a 1.5-mile wide face where it calves into the College Fjord. It is 300 ft thick and covers 120,000 acres of the Chugach National Forest. The Harvard Glacier is the second largest glacier in the Prince William Sound, after the Columbia Glacier. Click on thumbnail to view image

These Alaskan Glaciers were discovered by Edward Harriman and 23 esteemed scientists in 1899, and they named the Alaskan glaciers after their Ivy League alma maters and their sister schools. They include Amherst, Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Harvard, Smith, Vassar and Yale. It is said that the men took delight in ignoring Princeton. We saw the Bryn Mawr Glacier and the Smith Glacier. On the way back we saw several Stellar Sea Lions on Egg Rock and Kittiwakes nesting on the islands. Then we went to the head of Blackstone Bay, a fjord in Prince William Sound, where we saw two massive tidal water glaciers; Blackstone Glacier and Beloit Glacier. The glacier and bay are named after Charles Blackstone, a gold prospector from Seattle, who discovered the glacier in 1896 looking for gold in Alaska. Right next to the glaciers, is an extraordinary gigantic plunging waterfall, Blackstone Falls. What a spectacular day seeing so many magnificent glaciers and the weather was great for experiencing our 26 Glacier Cruise.