Alaska - June 22 to June 25, 2002
Nizwer & Fara

We flew into Anchorage on the longest day of the year, the day the Anchorage marathon is run. We had an inexpensive last minute web fare special deal from United Airlines $318/person roundtrip so we just took it. We had no car reserved nor hotel arrangements for the night. We arrived in Anchorage at 7:30pm and it was sunny like mid-afternoon. We found a motel near the airport, because there were no cars to rent due to the special events in town. We walked down to Gwennie's for an Alaskan crab dinner. Tried to get some sleep inspite of the bright outdoors - the sun sets, but it never gets dark.
The next morning we rented a Kia from Budget Rent-a-car at $67/day and we considered ourselves lucky to have transportation. We had made reservations for a white-water trip down Six mile creek, with Chugach Outdoors at 2pm, near the historic goldrush town of Hope . We drove down scenic Seward highway past Turnagain arm (site of the world's second largest recorded earthquake) and turned into Hope highway. Stopping for pictures the tide was very low (upon our return tide was high)
White-water rafting

Why would anyone want to go white-water rafting in Alaska? The water is exactly freeezing at all times, but they provided us comfortable dry-suits and great equipment. The water flow was high, so we decided we did not want to do level 5. The mere prospect of spending anytime in the cold water, involuntarily, was discouraging. They prepare the rafts for us while we are briefed on the swim test we are about to take. Yes, everyone is required to jump into the icy cold waters and swim across the river as proof.If we do fall off the raft, then we know exactly what to expect. I was hyperventilating at the end of that swim. We went down the level 4 rapids . Bouncing against rocks is a certainty with the gorge so narrow in places. Great scenery on both sides with 3000 foot mountains, and at one point there the river passed through a column of ice and boulders, the remains of an avalanche that had blocked the river and created a lake this last winter. Towards the end two rafters, but not us, sitting up in front fell out and went under the raft. Fortunately, no injuries, just a minor sprain of the finger from hanging on too long to a rope while disappearing under the raft. Finally we celebrate with victory picture with Jay our guide at left.

On our way to Hope suddenly came across a moose with 3 baby mooslets. We should have had the camera out but missed the opportunity. That night we stayed in a tiny cabin . We could occasionally hear wolves - lots of wolves.

Whale watching

Hah!! what whale? We took this whale watching trip down Kenai Fjords in the Northland. Seward is where the cruise ships come to. Don't know about the whale but we saw porpoises that swam alongside playfully, and the sea otters that really won my heart. Bald eagles, sea lions , sea gulls, and the large orange jellyfish we observed from the deck. We saw a couple of glaciers from the boat. One really closeup. . The scenery was gorgeous. Won't do this again, if we are not guaranteed whales!

Scenic Seward highway

The scenic road from Anchorage to Seward is one of America's most beautiful drives. We stop to watch wildlife and the quiet beauty. Near Seward is Exit Glacier you can get really close to this one.

If I ever go back to Alaska, I will make sure I have a car rental as soon as I land (so I get out of Anchorage immediately), carry a tent, hiking boots, binoculars, cameras, rain gear.