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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Alaskan Adventure - Seward Highway

Next second day I headed down the Seward Highway. My goal was to get all the way to Seward, but that didn’t work out because of the nasty weather. With 20/20 hindsight, I should have gone down it the day before when the weather was perfect and saved Friday for Anchorage. As it was, I drove into slushy snow/rain and winds that were around 35 MPH or better (when I stopped my car for pictures, it would rock!). But in spite of all that, it was still incredibly beautiful.

As you drive from Anchorage, to the right is the Turnagain Arm (bay) with ice floes gliding by faster than a person could run. In the summer Turnagain Arm is home to Beluga whale. The area is known for its bore tides, which is when an incoming tide rushes up a river or narrow mouthed bay against the current. At Turnagain Arm it causes a wave that can be up to 10 feet high and travel up to 15 MPH. “Good” ones don’t happen all the time and darn it, when I was there was not a time to see one…that was going to happen just TWO days after I left!

To my left were the bases of mountains. Some rose up fairly steep, while other areas were cliff faces that shot straight up. Small conifer trees took what grip they could on the rocky slopes and where they couldn’t grow, bright colored moss and lichen filled the niche.


In-between the peaks and mountains were deep snow filled valleys (for lack of a better name). With the warming weather, slushy precipitation and high winds, that snow didn’t look all too stable. And signs warning of avalanche areas didn’t make me feel any better either. At one point just above the town of Bird I pulled into a turnout feeling very uneasy about going farther.

As I stared down the highway I started getting the “hair up on the back of your neck” feeling. One thing I’ve learned in my almost 46 years is when you get that feeling…LISTEN!! (Personally, I think it’s ones guardian angel jumping on your head!) So I turned around and headed back north on the highway.

As I made my way back, I pulled in to the turnouts that were on the land side of the highway. I’d take a look and go back out on the road. Didn’t really sink in that I was always able to pull straight out. That is until I made a turnaround to get a picture I wanted and saw this highway warning sign…


One of my stops on the way back was at Indian Valley Meats. It’s a place that processes fish and game, both for individuals and commercially. And it is also a B&B with a gorgeous view of the water. I picked up some different types of jerky as gifts for Himself, my Dad and some salmon jerky for Cindi’s Maggie and Jack (must not forget the canine kids!).

Chukars

Moss and lichen

Windswept trees along Turnagain Arm

Dangerous mud flats



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