Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Alaska 2009 - part 7: Seward to Hope

After that incredible but cold trip, I spent the night in an inn, Breeze Inn to be exact. It's a nice enough place. I stayed in the not-yet-remodeled section, but it was very clean, had free wireless internet, and my bathroom window faced to the lagoon where a Bald Eagle gave me a wake-up call. It was average priced as well, and I would recommend them if you are in Seward.

I had yummy blueberry pancakes for breakfast and then headed off to the Alaska SeaLife Center which was formed in the wake of the Exxon-Valdez spill. It was pretty nice. It's rather new, so it is of course nothing like the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

I really don't know what this is, but I like the picture, so I thought I'd share.

They had a cool salmon display with fish from all stages. These ones are in the smolt stage and if I remember, were Silvers.

I also learned that the shallow bowl the female salmon digs out is called a redd. One of my brother's dogs is named Redd, which had nothing to do with it, but it's a cool coincidence. Mostly it's a funky spelling on his color (red Siberian Husky) and his pedigree name is (So and So's) Colorado, which also means red.

About noon, I decided to head out of town. I saw about all I could in Seward. I drove to the Exit Glacier and took a quick hike to the toe. Eh, ice is ice, nothing special except it is one of the fastest receding glaciers.

After that, I continued on my way to Hope, Alaska, the site of AK's first gold rush. It was rainy and driving by the historic town I noticed it was just a bit too touristy for my tastes. But maybe if it was sunny, I'd have a different outlook, I don't know.

I stayed at the Porcupine Campground at the end of the road. The camp hosts were very friendly and they also warned me to put and keep all foodstuffs, etc. in the truck. They also asked if I was using a tent, which at first I thought was odd. They went on to explain that a mama bear in the area had a fondness for pouncing on tents just for the fun of it. She was also teaching this habit to her cubs. Not good, and I have a feeling she won't be around after this year. I wasn't using a tent anyway, and with all that rain, I was going to sleep in the truck. However, that solidified it for me. I wanted to see a bear, but didn't really want to play with it, lol.

The Gull Rock Trail begins from the campground. When the rain let up a bit that evening, I took a walk with wide, wide eyes. I wanted to see a bear, but not necessarily alone on a trail.
I imagined a bear would pop out any time from the edges hidden with large berry bushes like this Devil's Club, which by the way you don't want to touch and definitely don't want to eat.
There were also quite a few mushrooms along the trail. But while looking for those, I happened upon this lovely sight.
Notice it looks rather fresh? And a lot of berries?
I then spotted this, which appears to be where a bear scratched a log looking for insects. I turned around at this point and also noticed disturbed brush on the side of the trail that looked like a bear scampered off breaking branches.

The trail is punctuated with open spots looking out to the Turnagain Arm like this. I imagine it's gorgeous on a sunny evening as the sun goes down.

It's a nice, easy trail, but next time I'll have a bear bell with me and not be so paranoid.

Although, my paranoia was validated when I was back at camp rearranging things in the truck. A black bear wandered through the camp and disappeared back into the brush. I didn't have the camera handy, so I could only watch it walk away. Still, that was probably the best way to see a bear :)


Linda in Erie said...

I totally enjoyed reading about your visit to Alaska. A wake-up call from an eagle would be the ultimate!

RuthieJ said...

Bears sure add another level of excitement to any camping trip, don't they Heidi? I'm glad you managed to avoid any face-to-face encounters!

Adam R. Paul said...

What fun - I've enjoyed reading your travelogue!

Carrot Jello said...

Did you fall off the face of the earth?


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