Alaska Part XIII , trip day 10-11; July 11-12, 2018
Somehow, despite a year of planning, scheduling, stressing, and preparing, our highly anticipated trip to Alaska drew to a close. We woke up Wednesday morning to a bright day and began reluctantly packing our luggage and carry-ons for the impending flight rather than a day of driving to a new lodging. We had to make sure that phone/kindle chargers were in our carry-ons, and Ian’s hot wheels case was properly arranged for the flight.
We hiked one last trip down to the river to burn a few more mental images of the Kasilof, then back to the cabin for Brinn to pack our fish in the cooler we purchased on our first day in Alaska. For a relatively inexpensive insulated cooler, we are pleased with the results! It successfully hauled our food all around the south-central region of Alaska, and got our fish home in still frozen condition!
With the Sequoia loaded, we pulled out and left our cabin behind unlocked, because the owners assured us that there are no need for locks in Alaska! We headed north and traveled back through Soldotna, and enjoyed our last views of the Kenai River and my now favorite shade of blue. In fact, I later took this image to Lowe’s to match the color to repaint my bedroom walls! The sun even came out for our last day of driving.
Of course we had to stop at Summit Hill Lodge once we made it that far since we learned that it’s our favorite cafe in the country. Another fun stop on the way back was off of the Seward Highway at Canyon Creek. This tributary runs into the infamous Six Mile Creek, which we didn’t have the opportunity to raft. Nonetheless, it was still a fun hike around CC, and there were bathrooms! You can tell we’re getting further north at this point because the beautiful blue water starts to regain the silty, gray glacier runoff. Goodbye beautiful Kenai blue!
Our drive brought us back along the coast as we crept back up the peninsula. Finally arriving in Anchorage, we stopped for an early dinner in a small diner where I had the spiciest bowl of tortilla soup I’ve ever encountered. We returned the Long House Hotel for an evening nap, then we headed to Ted Stevens Airport to put an end to our magical vacation. As the airport itself contained many displays and artifacts, we were able to almost consider it a slight extension of our touring.
I’ve never been one to find disappointment in airport food, but Anchorage sure did know how to cater to groggy, hungry travelers at 1:00 AM. Brinn wondered around and found an Alaska pizza: caribou, moose, and elk! It’s too bad we failed to discover this delicacy before our last hour in the state.
Sitting in the airport waiting for our 1:30 AM boarding time, we experienced the most darkness of our entire trip. A storm was moving in, bringing dark clouds that masked the dusky twilight that we usually saw at night. Our weary selves were thrilled to finally have the sun dimmed for a bit. In fact, some of my soundest sleep of the entire trip was in the darkness of Seattle during our layover!
Our last full day in Alaska was probably the least exciting, but we were still fortunate to experience amazing contrasting views. The day started midways down the Kenai Peninsula, and took us all the way back to Anchorage. We saw a wide variety of flora and fauna, with the peninsula’s sights contrasting sharply with Anchorage’s. I spent most of the drive trying to commit all of the grandeur to memory. My biggest regret at this point was not requesting an entire month off of work. I think we all would have happily stayed another two weeks!