Alaska Part 1: Cold Mountains and Wild Animals
And that's probably what made me want to visit Alaska—that I knew so little about it
So why did I choose Alaska? I’m not exactly a big fan of cold weather and before I did some research, I had no idea what to expect. The only thing I knew about it is from watching this movie called Into the Wild. A man hitchhikes his way up to Alaska and isolates himself from society until he dies. Geez, I make it sound so depressing. Actually, it was a heartwarming, tragic film of a man living and connecting with nature. I won’t say anything else in case anyone wants to see the movie or reads the book. It’s non-fiction, which makes it even more interesting.
And that’s probably what made me want to visit Alaska—that I knew so little about it. Films give us a glimpse of places but often, the way they are portrayed is over-romanticized. I wanted to see it for myself.
From Anchorage, we rented a car and drove to nearby national parks. The one thing you notice while driving is that there are a TON of trees everywhere.
The air smelled like smoke since there was a huge wildfire that started days before we arrived. Apparently, they experienced the warmest day ever recorded which soared to about 77° Fahrenheit (About 25° Celsius). It doesn’t seem that bad to us, but the change in temperature caused consequences to this normally cold place.
Seward and Kenai National Park
We drove down to Seward where we saw
fishermen fisherfolks(?) rinsing gigantic fish! I am not a huge fan of cooked salmon (raw salmon is fine), but I admit, seeing them fresh from the water made me want to eat them (even the cooked ones).
Interesting fact: although there’s an abundance of salmon in Alaska, salmon prices in restaurants were extremely high. Our Airbnb host said this is typical. Instead of eating fish from the restaurant, a lot of locals just fish for their own food.
We took a ferry to see Kenai Fjords National Park. It’s one way to see the park as there are no roads (according to Google maps). I guess you can go on a hike but we didn’t have much time so we booked a tour.
And off we went to find glaciers, whales, and other wild animals.
Huge glacier. The brown stuff, according to our captain and guide, is actually algae, not mud. Unfortunately, the darker algae absorb more sunlight and cause the ice to melt even faster. 😞 As we were watching the glacier, we heard a thundering sound that echoed in the distance. It was the glacier breaking. We were hundreds of meters away from the wall, but the sound was so loud, most of us on the boat were startled by it.
Chilling with the glacier. We look very calm here, but we’re actually freezing from the biting cold. Good thing we brought our fluffy coats!
We saw sea lions sleeping on rock formations. It seemed they weren’t afraid of the boats or humans. We also saw puffins. A lot of puffins! The first time I’d seen them was in Iceland though I didn’t get to take pictures of them there.