We checked out of the hotel, and headed for Kincaid Park. It was a beautiful day as we drove into the wooded area – said to be home to the largest population of Moose in Anchorage. That’s just cool.
Most towns may have areas with the largest population of college students or homeless people or car dealerships. Kincaid Park was home to moose. And apparently, lots of them.
Driving in, we didn’t see any. We parked, and decided to walk one of the many trails through the park. During the winters, the trails are used for cross country skiing, but this day, they were perfect for a walk. We didn’t get far before Lee stopped, staring to his left. There was our first bit of Alaskan wildlife. A moose was happily munching some leaves near the trail.
I had been reading about moose, and if you make them mad, they can hurt you. One official sign I read made me laugh with its honesty when it said an angry moose could “beat the living daylights out of you.” But this one was not angry, just hungry.
We walked a little further, then encountered a man and his dog (the dog scared me because he growled at us before we saw him, and I could have sworn it was a bear. I was a little jumpy.) The man seemed friendly, but grumbled about the moose. Said he and his dog had been chased by one recently.
When we got back to the car, our friend the moose was at the parking lot. He again ignored us. A woman had just pulled up with a big golden retriever in her backseat. She was about to let the dog out when she spotted the moose, changed her mind, and got back in the car. She picked up a book. Apparently, this happens all the time, and she was prepared to wait it out.
Driving out of the park, we passed three other moose, and took about dozen pictures of them. We got a burger at a local establishment called “Wee B’s.” It didn’t look very sanitary, but the burgers were good. Elk burgers and buffalo burgers were on the menu, but I wasn’t feeling that adventurous. I stuck with cow.
After lunch, we got on Highway 1 headed toward the town of Seward, population 4,000. The drive was amazing. It probably only takes about 2 or 2 and a half hours of actual drive time, but we stopped often to take photos. The road winds through a valley between snow-capped mountains. The peaks were jagged and tall, not smooth and gentle like the ones of North Georgia.
Just before Seward, we turned off the highway to stop at Exit Glacier. After a brief hike, we were at the base of a mammoth blue rock face. The glacier was tall, and curled around the mountain then up toward the sky. In front of it was a wide wash of debris, gravel, bits of carved up mountain deposited year after year, and a small but very, very cold stream of melted glacier water. Lee and I ignored the posted warning about the dangers of falling ice, and ran up to touch the glacier. It felt – as one might expect – cold. We then took a hike higher up alongside the glacier, and looked across it toward all the surrounding mountains. It was a beautiful view.
Back to the car, and a few miles later, we were in Seward, where you can get coffee from a roadside stand shaped like a huge coffee mug, or a burger from a converted school bus/restaurant. We did neither though, and opted for finer dining at Apollo’s. The food was good, and we spent our evening driving through town. It was nearly impossible to get lost because the town is sandwiched between the mountains and beautiful Resurrection Bay, so you always had a visual landmark for orientation. I looked at all the homes and the people and wondered what it would be like to live here. What brought these people here? What did they all do for a living? What were winters like? I couldn’t imagine really moving there, if only because it’s so far away – but the town definitely had major charm.