Our fifth wheel and the truck

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Stunning Seward and the Amazing Matanuska Glacier Hike.

Farewell to Homer as our next destination is Seward situated on Resurrection Bay and an RV park right on the Bay.

What a sensational spot!! Snow capped mountains behind us and the bay right in front of us yep more snow capped mountains on the other side of the bay. We arrived and set up and then took a walk around town to take photos of the murals. Like the painted Talkeetna moose and the Leadville bison, Seward has its own attraction, with about 15 murals painted on the buildings around the town. Some of them were beautiful while others were a bit suspect.

The next morning we walked up to the Ocean Centre and were so impressed. This is a rescue centre for marine animals as well as having beautiful aquariums and an aviary for the ocean birds.

From there we headed home for a quick lunch and then walked up to the harbour where we were taking a wildlife and glacier cruise around the Bay. We had an awesome time and although we ran out of time to see any of the many glaciers we did see lots of wildlife including lots of seals, sea otters, eagles and a humpback whale. Well the whale was really just quite a few glimpses as it came up and went down but we can still say we saw it!

The next day was also brilliant as we went hiking up to Exit Glacier. It is very sad to see the difference in the location of the end of the glacier 100 years ago and where it is now. It is actually retreating quite a bit each year - I can’t remember the exact number but it is scary to think that these magnificent places may not be around in the future.

We had packed a picnic lunch and found a wonderful overlook and enjoyed the most amazing view as we sat and ate.

The afternoon was spent doing mundane tasks like shopping, banking and catching up with emails. And no the emails weren’t boring!!! Thank you one and all for keeping in touch..

I must tell you that the evenings at Seward were just the most serene, peaceful times. Each night we had a campfire on the beach and sat around chatting. The first night we were joined by Mel and Dee (Melodee is how we were told we could remember their names!) who were in the space next to Jim and Jan, the next night we were joined by Rick and Karen who had just arrived in Seward that day and the third night Gerry and Phyllis (next to us) came down to the fire. It was so amazing and the wildlife was brilliant. The first night we saw an eagle come down and pinch a fish skeleton from a flock of gulls just in front of us. The last night we saw a seal, porpoises and a sea otter! Just sitting by the bay and having a beautiful time.

And when I get home I am going to by an ‘Air Popper’! On the last night Jim and Norm went for a walk to find out where we needed to go to empty the tanks so Jan decided that popcorn was the order of the day. And she has this Air Popper and you put ½ cup of corn into it, turn it on and within minutes you have popcorn. Drizzle a little butter and sprinkle on some salt and you are ready to go. Of course when the guys came back they bogged in like starving seagulls!!!!

Jan and I would have been quite happy to spend some more time in Seward however as I keep saying if you stay longer in one place to enjoy something you will run out of time down the road and miss out on something else. Catch 22!

Our next stop was Palmer just for a night then on again and where Nancy and Steve arrived to join us again.

The next leg of our trip was to Matanuska State Recreation Park and along the road we stopped at a Musk Ox farm where they are domesticating Musk Ox. The qivuit (the fur/hair that they remove from the Musk Ox) is soooo valuable! They make scarves and beanies that sell for about US$250 each!! They make one blanket a year that is raffled off and the value of the blanket is about US$10,000. Beautifully soft and warm but who could afford it? Oh yes, our guide told us about a female Iditarod driver who had her whole outfit made from qivuit!!

Arriving at Matanuska we gulped down a quick lunch and all piled into Steve’s car for a quick drive down to the staging point for our glacier trek. This was a mind boggling experience!! Jake, our guide rigged us up with boots, crampons and helmets and drove us down into the park. Jake is from Minnesota and is a uni student doing a degree in snow and avalanche science up here in Alaska .

Like so many of the young people who take on summer jobs in the parks, he was very knowledgeable and seem to enjoy sharing their knowledge and experience with others. A question I often ask is why we don’t hear more about these young people and less about the ones who do the wrong things. Our society is lucky to have so many wonderful young people. Off my soapbox again!!

The trek on the glacier was magnificent! Jake even tapped into the ice and found a stream which we were able to drink from - it was the most amazingly cold, fresh and tasteless water I have ever had. Norm even filled up his water bottle.

Jake showed us part of the glacier that had fallen overnight and explained that just prior to it falling, people were actually walking under this giant overhanging ice. It is possible to go out on the glacier without any sort of guide, protection or knowledge. And we did see some people out there doing pretty stupid things like going really close to a 40ft drop which they couldn’t see. Jake told us of one young guy who slipped and ended up about 2 inches from the edge the that drop. Lucky lad!

Another wonderful day was capped off with a great campfire and s’mores! They could become quite addictive I think.

A short day the next day as we drove to Glennallen. This is just an overnighter on our way down to Valdez. Nothing much to see in Glennallen so it seems like a good place to end this post.

To all our family and friends we send our love and hugs. Special thoughts of our son, Bryce as he wings his way from Australia to Northern Kentucky University for a year. As I write this, in the car on the way to Valdez, he is getting close to Melbourne where he will board a flight for Los Angeles, then another one for New York.

Stay safe and healthy everyone and Ooroo.

PS He arrived safely although a few hours late.

PPS Photos following in a couple of days.


  1. What an exciting life you guys are leading - glad you are having a good time. We arrive in Dawson Creek on 31 July and our trek starts from there on 4 August. Hopefully we will see you along the way. Cheers Sandy

  2. Hi Sandy, So sorry we missed you. We arrived in Watson Lake on the Sunday after you left. I did have hopes that we might get there early enough but alas! Hope you are enjoying yourselves and staying safe. Take care Paula