Sunday, August 15, 2010

At the end of the Road in Alaska

Linda at the Hatcher Pass Lodge
Weather wise, we certainly had a mixed week. We arrived in the Anchorage area last weekend with beautiful day. We did some shopping and fueled up and then headed up to Hatcher Pass to spend the night. There is a lovely state parking lot that we like to camp in at the Gold Mint Trailhead. There was a lodge across the street that we normally eat at, but they were closed. That night it rained quite a bit, but by morning had cleared up again. We dropped the Jeep and headed up to the summit of Hatcher Pass. On the way we stopped at another lodge and had a wonderful breakfast with a magnificent view. We made it to the top pass before we turned around and headed back to the coach.
Jake, Mike and Linda at the summit of Hatcher Pass
With such a beautiful day we decided to head down to the Kenai. The weather is never good there and we hoped to catch it on a nice day. Our luck didn’t last and it started raining before we got past Anchorage. We spent the night at the Kenai Princess Lodge RV Park, always on one of our favorite stops. It is right on the beautiful Kenai River and has a wonderful, but pricey restaurant. The next morning we pushed in the rain onto Homer.

Linda ready for lunch at Halibut Cove
Linda warmed up after the hot buttered rums for lunch
In Homer we got one of the premiere campsites (gravel parking spot) right on Kachemak Bay between the Fishing Hole and the City Harbor. The view of the bay plus the mountains and glaciers surrounding Homer was great; especially because the weather had cleared some. Earlier in the year a good friend of our visited Homer after taking a cruise and took a ferry to the little artist colony of Halibut Cove. She loved it and told Linda about it. It was Linda’s whole purpose for coming to Homer. As soon as we arrived, she bought tickets for the ferryboat and made lunch reservations at the only restaurant in the area. We were lucky the next day as rain was forecasted. We could see it all around us, but not where we were and that was outside on an old ferryboat. But it was cold. When we arrived we went to the restaurant and were told we would be sitting outside. One of the other customers mentioned hot buttered rum and that sounded good to everyone and after two it did not seem so cold anymore. We did enjoy lunch, but have to say two soups and a shared appetizer plate for over $100 does seem high. Of course we did have six of those hot buttered rum things.

From our campground on the
Homer Spit looking at the Grewing Glacier
After great weather in both Valdez and Homer we though our luck my hold out in Seward. We have been there four times before and it has always rained. So we left Homer and headed over. No luck this time as it was overcast and raining, so we pulled the plug early and headed out of the Kenai. As we were passing through Anchorage we heard on the radio that Anchorage just set a new record for the most consecutive days of rain. We just kept on going on the Parks Highway. We wanted to take the Jeep up the Petersville Road which is supposed to have great views of Denali. We camped that night at the end of the road and listened to the rain on our roof. The next morning the rain was still falling so we gave up the idea of the Jeep adventure and headed north.

Mt McKinley - Denali
When we got to Denali National Park the skies had started to clear and we thought that we might be have a chance to see McKinley which is normally in the clouds. We dropped the Jeep and started into the Park. We drove as far as we were allowed to take a private vehicle, but the mountain was still hidden in the clouds. We were also looking for bears, but did not seen any. We did see a few caribou, but they were not close enough to get any photos. Just before we arrived in Fairbanks, we finally got a view of Denali. It was the first time we could see it since our first trip in 1999.

Yes it was 95 in Fairbanks!
We are now in Fairbanks and believe it or not, it is 94 degrees. That is downright hot for Alaska, although it is dry heat. It is supposed to cool off tomorrow, so you don’t have to feel sorry for us. This is the end of our Alaskan loop. From here we will start back to the lower 48 sometime at the beginning of the week. It will take us about a week to get back and we will be without a cell phone and probably without much internet.

We hope that you all have had a great week.
Take care, Love,
Linda, Jake and the Fat Man