At the end of January, my younger brother called me and said his friend canceled on him to go to Alaska. He wanted to go no matter what and asked if I would go with him instead.
The planning for this trip did not begin until later in the Spring. We had our list of travelers: Dustin, Andy, and I. Now all we needed were plans. Andy, who usually does the trip planning, just started his new job, and this is Dustin’s first big trip, so I had to find time to make an itinerary.
I bought the most recent edition of Frommer’s Alaska Guidebook and started reading. Since Alaska is a huge state, I decided to focus on Denali National Park and Kenai Peninsula. The only request I received was from Dustin to go fishing on a charter.
The first part of our trip was on the Kenai Peninsula. We filled it with hiking, marine wildlife tours, and a fishing trip. The landscape on the peninsula was amazing with glaciers, mountains, aqua blue lakes, and fjords while staying in a log cabin in Moose Pass.
We decided to go at the beginning of August. After we all requested our time off with our jobs, we booked our flights. ALASKA BOUND!!!
Dustin and I had early flights on August 4th. He left out of Pittsburgh and went through Dallas and Seattle to Anchorage. I left from Cleveland and went through Denver and Seattle to Anchorage. Andy was on Dustin’s last leg of flights and had the rental car reservations. I arrived 4 hours earlier then them and headed to our hostel , Alaska Backpackers Inn, to check in. The cab driver gave me great suggestions on where to eat for our night on the town.
I took a nap and waited for the guys to get to the hostel. They came and picked me up, and we headed to the Glacier Brewhouse. Andy and I both had dinner. Dustin was not hungry because he was usually in bed during this time due to the 4 hour time difference.
After dinner, we all went to bed after a long day of travel.
Kenai Peninsula, Whittier, Ptarmigan Lake, and Moose Pass
We woke up early, got ready, and headed to REI and Walmart to pick up groceries and supplies for the first half of our trip.
After our errands, we were able to head towards Moose Pass, where we would be staying for the next few nights. On our way to Moose Pass on the Seward Highway, we stopped at Beluga Point. Dustin was just amazed with the scenery and showed his excitement for the trip. There were not any beluga whales visible, so we continued on our way. With little plans for today, we decided to take Portage Glacier Road and tunnel to Whittier. The tunnel was roughly 2 miles long and carved out of the stone of the mountain that leaked the moisture coming through. We got into Whittier and took a look around the docks. There was not much to see here, as it was a small town and the gateway to the Prince William Sound transportation. Since we had no intention of going on the water today, we turned around to head our way back towards Moose Pass.
Docks at Whittier
We ended up sitting in line to go back through the tunnel because it was a one-way tunnel. As we were waiting, we made ourselves some lunch and decided on a little hike to do for the remainder of the day. We drove to the trail head of Ptarmigan Lake, which was passed our accommodations for the night. We packed our hiking bags and headed on our way with a few snacks at around 2:25pm.
The trail conditions were nice with limestone trail placement along a aqua blue river. Dustin was amazed at the color of the water. We found some edible blue berries along the trail and snacked on them during our hike after seeing a few hikers gathering the berries for themselves. We originally were only going to do half the hike, which would have been only a 400 foot elevation gain and 2.5 one way. However, we made such good time, we decided to continue onto the lake, which was only an additional mile. Dustin talked to us the whole time about his job and other current events in his life. The last part of the trail was not as nice with brush cover and bear droppings along the way. However, the extra hiking was worth it to see the blue lake with snow capped mountains in the distance. We snacked at the lake and took some pictures. After a little break, we turned around to make our way back to the car. We got back to the car around 5:20.
After the hike, we decided to head into Moose Pass to check into the Midnight Sun Lodge. After we checked in, we got to Cabin #4. We then headed to the general store to pick up something to make for dinner. We checked out the float planes that were on Grant Lake. We did not find much and ended up having macaroni pasta with tomato sauce. We headed back to the cabin and cooked dinner on the porch with the camp stove.
It was still early, so we decided to drive into Seward to see the town. It was a 30 mile drive south. We got into town and saw mile 0 of the Iditarod. We then decided to go to the Seward Ale House for some microbrews before heading back to the cabin for the night. Dustin bought a t-shirt and loved the selection of beer on tap, which was much different than Coudersport. We drove back and decided our plans for the next day: a Kenai Fjords National Park cruise instead of the Lost Lake hike I was planning. Andy and Dustin wanted to start seeing wildlife.
More in this series:
- Alaska Itinerary
- Kenai Fjords National Park
- Kenai Peninsula Homer Fishing
- Denali National Park
- Tips for Planning a Visit to Denali National Park
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