Discovering Alaska, Part III: Hiking to Exit Glacier

Good morning, Seward! After nearly ten hours of sleep Sunday night, we awoke bright-eyed and bushy-tailed the next day.

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Seward at 6:30am. Yup.

One of my must-do’s for the trip: go on an Alaskan run. When I walked down the cabin stairs Monday morning, I passed a group of bleary-eyed tourists ready to take part on a glacier tour. One of the young women, decked out in a moose hat, looked at my get-up and said “You are my hero.” 😀

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For three miles, I curved past mountains, campers, and beautiful purple Fireweed. The cool mountain air made me extra speedy (that or the realization that a bear may be coming out to get me at any moment).

After a leisurely round of showers, we decided to take the lodge-provided shuttle into town to get some breakfast.

141 Mom couldn’t resist picking weeds on our walk to the main lodge.

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Even on vacation, the weeds must be picked!

We walked through the town’s one and only grocery store, Safeway, and picked up some vanilla Greek yogurt, blueberries, bananas, and granola.

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Amanda and Jake met us in our room, and then we took a short drive to the trailhead at Exit Glacier. This was the first sign I saw upon our arrival.

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Please note the line “If it starts to eat you fight back.” I’d like to believe that is true for pretty much any thing, not just bears.

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The Blue Moose Travel Buddies, ready to hit the trail!

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The trail had year markings every so often showing how far out the glacier used to be. It was a little sad to see how far the glacier has retreated.

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The walk was just gorgeous, though.

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Hiking is one of my absolute favorite outdoor activities. It really gives you an appreciation for all the natural beauty we work so hard to cover up.

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Exit Glacier from a distance.

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Aunt Dina was such a trooper. She didn’t complain once about the hike, but we did try to stop and take small rests so she wouldn’t topple over on her bad leg.

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I don’t think Mom was ready for this picture.
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161The Exit Glacier Trail was well-populated by young and old alike. There is actually a guided tour twice a day, but we had our own guides and I preferred it that way. It’s nice going at your own pace sometimes.

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Even though there were signs warning against it, I really wanted to go down the hill to touch the glacier. Jake was definitely in. He and Amanda had actually touched the glacier before, but they went through the river to get there.

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Unfortunately, the rocks turned to a quicksand-like consistency near the bottom, so fearing death and dismemberment, we stopped before we reached the glacier.

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We got pretty close, though!

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It was an absolutely gorgeous day. The sun was a bit hot and there were flies attacking us on the trail, but once we got up to the glacier, the air bouncing off of it (called catabatic air), cooled us right off and shooed the flies away.

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I could have stayed all day, but we had to make the trek back.

There was a visitor’s center at the trailhead with more information about Exit Glacier as well as gift items.

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Jake had to head to work, so we dropped him off and went to the Sip N’ Spin for lunch, a laundromat/cafe (aka best idea ever).

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There was a wonderful menu with fair-trade coffee, smoothies, baked goods and succulent sandwiches.

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The four of us elected to split four sandwiches, and the cooks were nice enough to cut them into squares for us to share.

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Lentil & Quinoa Burger, Caprese (with brie…they were out of mozz), Chilkoot (smoked salmon with cream cheese), and Import (brie, apricot, apricot preserves, and aoili). The sandwiches were served with blue corn chips and a strange-but-good tasting hummus. The hummus was a little grainy, like they didn’t add tahini, but it was still flavorful.

My favorite was the caprese with a hefty dose of berry basil balsamic, but the Chilkoot was also amazing. Nom nom nom salmon.

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I had a Perrier with my sandwiches, which was the perfect post-hiking drink: crisp and refreshing.

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The atmosphere at the Sip N’ Spin was so cool. I loved sitting outside under the awning. Sadly, it was soon time for Amanda to head into work, so Mom, Dina, and I stayed and walked around Seward.

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There were souvenir and gift shops lining the main drag of Seward.

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Souvenir time! I picked up a few things for my family and laughed at this hat that would have been perfect for my dad.

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This furry visor that mom tried on matched her hair color exactly! Kind of looks like she has a mullet.

To my delight, we found a gelato place.

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Sweeeeet. They did a great job with presentation here. I opted for a Mama Bear, which was two scoops: one of mango and one of Fruits of the Forest.

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So. Good.

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203After devouring our gelato, we walked down to the Sealife Center so the shuttle could pick us up.

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I climbed up on the back of a Dall porpoise and made mom snap a picture.

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I’m just like Ariel! “Wish I could be…part of your woooooorld.”

The shuttle took us back to the lodge, and we headed to our hotel room for an hour or so to regroup. Dina brought a journal along and was documenting our journeys every day at the hotel.

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Since we had almost an entire pizza in the fridge, we decided to go to the Roadhouse for drinks and to split an appetizer, then come back and eat our pizza. Yeah, that didn’t happen.

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My first dirty Tanqueray martini in Alaska.

The appetizers looked so good, we couldn’t decide on just one.

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Crab cake sliders with spicy aoili.

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And wonton wrapped duck with purple potato and tomato jam. Wow. I fell in love with the tomato jam, which was the perfect accompaniment to the warm, greasy duck…and my fingers.

This time, it was Dina’s birthday.

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Chocolate Redoubt: chocolate cake, Kahlua mousse, salted caramel and homemade vanilla ice cream. It was like a chocolate covered fist punched me in the mouth…….in a good way.

Seriously the best hotel food I have ever tasted and ever expect to taste. At this point, eating leftover pizza was out of the question. So instead, I ordered another beer. And another.

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Might as well go outside to enjoy the beautiful night!

We missed the summer solstice and “the land of the midnight sun,” so the sun set at about 11:00pm and was back up at 5:00am. Pretty awesome timing.

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The Moose Point Porter was one of my favorites. I think I had four or five glasses of it the whole week.

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We headed back inside after 11:00pm to hang out with the gang.

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Amanda and Jake introduced us to everyone, so by the end of the week, I felt like we were all old friends. Since we had an early boat to catch the next morning, we headed back to our hotel room around midnight for some shut-eye.

 

One thought on “Discovering Alaska, Part III: Hiking to Exit Glacier

  1. Pingback: Checking in from the Real World | Designs on Dinner

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