Monday: Brooks Camp to Seward
Early in the morning, we get breakfast at the lodge and pack up for departure. While no doubt the bear viewing and scenery are highlights of the trip, we are happy to leave this place infested with mosquitoes and white sock flies. After breakfast, we pack up and take the water taxi to King Salmon.
The King Salmon airport is packed. The previous leg from Anchorage was nearly an empty flight, but now the waiting room is filled with fishermen wanting to leave. The few women there are tourists. The guys behind us describe how this year’s fish prices are terrible, roughly a quarter of what they normally make.
The plane departs two hours late, and coupled with the loss of income, the mood is stale. Many will be missing their connecting flights out of Anchorage.
At the airport, after baggage claim and retrieving our stored luggage in the South Terminal, I pick up a Subaru Ascent through Turo and head to Seward. The drive is scenic, and we soon pull up to Salted Roots Cabin. It’s such a beautiful place. We’re most astonished by the oversized shower room complete with a heated floor.
We enjoy tomato and egg udon noodles with stir-fried spinach, clean up, and turn in for the day.
Tuesday: Kenai Fjords
The sunrise over Resurrection Bay is spectacular. From our second-floor balcony, I can see the clouds roll open like a scroll while the sun peeps through small openings in the parchment, lighting the bay ablaze. With leftover udon noodles, we have noodles with miso soup and tofu. Soon, we’re off to take the cruise tour into the Kenai Fjords.
The Kenai National Park cruise becomes the most wildlife-dense excursion of our trip. Right after departing the harbor, we see sea otters and a bald eagle perched on a crag. The ride out is cold and windy, but soon, we reach the calm waters around No Name Island. Steller sea lions fight for prime resting spots on a rock. Around the bend, harbor seals hang out on pieces of icebergs calved from Aialik Glacier. A baby orca swims and plays alongside its mom. Gulls lead us to a group of humpback whales bubble net feeding. Puffins join the melee.
We have mocktails poured over glacial ice.
To finish off the tour, we land on Fox Island for a buffet dinner of wild-caught salmon.
Back at Lowell Point, we enjoy the last moments of the day, spending time along the rocky beach and taking in the expanse of the bay.
Wednesday: Seward and Cooper Landing
This morning, we have French toast with jam before heading into Seward. I do laundry.
The Alaska SeaLife Center is a gem. The kids enjoy reading the exhibits and learning about the local habitat. Finally, I get to see puffins up close.
From there, we explore parts of the Kenai Peninsula. At Cooper Landing, we turn up the road to explore and fish Rainbow Lake. The kids want to kayak, but that will have to wait until tomorrow, as the outfitter is closed.
We set up camp at Quartz Creek. After dinner, we hike around and explore Kenai Lake, determined to return and paddle tomorrow.
Thursday: The Alyeska Resort
After breakfast at camp, and having gotten directions from a general store, we find ourselves at Williams Beach. The kayaks are there, but the outfitter is not. I make several calls and leave messages. Later, someone calls me back and says someone will be there to help us.
We launch into Kenai Lake with Daphney in the front cockpit and Jayden and I in the rear. It’s windy, but the water conditions are manageable. We paddle east along the shoreline, then turn around and head west to see the Quartz Creek Campground. The kids are happy.
From there, we head to the Alyeska Resort for a luxury rest day. The concierge manages to snag us a reservation at Seven Glaciers, and this will be one of our most memorable meals on the trip, situated atop the tramway with panoramic views of Girdwood and beyond.