The 163 mile drive from Homer Alaska to Seward Alaska was chock full of amazing, beautiful, natural scenery. We drove past Cook Inlet water on our left and Caribou Hills on our right, then through Kenai National WildLife Refuge, then Chugach National Forest, arriving in Seward at the base of the Kenai Fjords National Park.
The scenic Kenai Peninsula is 90% wilderness and has it all; glaciers, mountains, wildlife. The Kenai Mountains are covered with an icefield the size of Rhode Island and the rest of the Kenai is crisscrossed with rivers, creeks, lakes, and trails. The turquoise waters of Kenai Lake and the upper Kenai River waters are uniquely tinted blue-green by suspended ultra-fine glacial silt. From our RV motorhome windshield, we watched clouds cloak the mountaintops and mist float through the Chugach Forest.
At the end of the Sterling to Seward Highway is Seward Alaska on the shores of Resurrection Bay. Resurrection Bay has been shaped by millions of years of glacial activity and consists of a deep fjord that extends nearly 35 miles north and south on the southeastern coast of the Kenai Peninsula. The Bay remains ice-free in the winter.
Seward is a great saltwater port sandwiched between Resurrection Bay and the Kenai Mountains at the base of Mt. Marathon. Seward was founded in 1903 and named after William Seward, President Lincoln’s Secretary of State who bought Alaska from Russia in 1867 for America. The town of Seward has a varied history; a Native village, a Russian ship building settlement, a Gold Rush encampment, the beginning of the Iditarod Trail, a frontier railroad town, and a U.S. Military port in WWII.
We took a pre-dawn morning drive from Seward to Tern Lake Junction through small towns of Cooper Landing, Moose Pass, and Trail Lake. We found the Russian River Ferry. A hand pulled boat that is used by the fishermen to get across the Kenai River to the mouth of the Russian River.
Seward’s older downtown section is filled with historic buildings, shops and restaurants and the Alaska SeaLife Center. The SeaLife Center is committed to preserve Alaska’s marine ecosystem. It is a marine research, rehabilitation and education facility. We had an educational class about puffins. It was fun to later tour the center and see seals, starfish, stages of salmon growth, and under water viewing aquarium tanks full of big steller sea lions.
KENAI FJORDS NATIONAL PARK GLACIER AND WILDLIFE CRUISE:
We went on a full day cruise through Kenai Fjords National Park to view abundant wildlife and spectacular tidewater glaciers. The 1,047 square mile Kenai Fjords National Park is on the south coast of Kenai Peninsula. The Harding Icefield is a 30 square mile area of glaciers, fjords, and islands. At least 38 glaciers flow from the icefield, eight of which reach the sea. The formation of a glacier requires three conditions: abundant snowfall, cool summers, and the gravitational flow of ice. All of these conditions are met in Kenai Fjords.
Patty went on a glacier hike on Exit Glacier in the Harding Ice Field. Signs were placed along the trail dating back to where the glacier had retreated. Exit Glacier retreats around 50 feet a year leaving a rock debris outwash plain and a grey silt creek.
Steve fished out of Resurrection Bay on the “Artic Endeavor” charter boat and caught halibut, rock cod and was the only one on the boat to catch silver salmon. We have a freezer full of Alaskan fish!
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