Pacific Northwest, USA

A weekend getaway to Alaska…

This was my first solo trip ever. I decided to go to Alaska on one of the weekends when days started becoming monotonous with work and going back home cooking, eating, sleep repeat. Don’t get me wrong, some kind of stability is needed during the work week. But there are ways in which we can make it more exciting and productive by giving ourselves something to look forward to. So I booked a ticket to Alaska a week ago and decided to cover south of Alaska (mostly Anchorage, Whittier, and Seward).  A small weekend getaway for myself for all the hard work I put in at work 😀

Pre-travel bookings:

  1. I left on Friday night and was landing pretty late around midnight. So booking an Airbnb close to the airport made a lot of sense to avoid long drives. What I noticed while booking Airbnb is that all of them and the good ones are far away towards south and north about 3-4 hours drive away.
  2. I booked a car rental which was pretty cheap as well around 17$ per day excluding insurance.
  3. I booked a glacier cruise in Whittier to prince William sound (it’s called Prince William glacier cruise). Viator is my source for all the excursion bookings.
  4. Since Whittier is closer to Seward, I booked another Airbnb for day 2 so I could stay in Seward.

Day 1:

I land in Alaska and all I could think of is I have died and come to heaven. The Airport is surrounded by mountains covered with ice and that’s literally all you can see everywhere in all its glory.

I get my rental and head to Airbnb, as at this point I am tired and ready to get some sleep so I am all charged up for my excursion and beautiful drive next day.

Day 2:

I leave around 8:30 am as I had booked my glacier cruise in Whittier and drive to Whittier from Anchorage is around 1.5hrs. I was really looking forward to the beautiful drive as I had heard a lot about it being the most scenic drive. I took Ak-1N towards Whittier and had to make it by 10:20 am for the tunnel to open.

The tunnel:

To get to Whittier there is no other way than by road or train. And both go through a tunnel that separates Whittier from Anchorage. The tunnel opens every 15 mins for the car and the other 15 mins for the train. So getting there by the time tunnel open for the car is mandatory as the line gets longer and it’s a one lane only tunnel.

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Waiting in line for tunnel to open
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That tiny little tunnel
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Mountain covering the tunnel

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After the beautiful drive to the tunnel on AK-1N and resisting the temptation of getting down at every god damn scenic stop I made it to the 10:20 am tunnel and waited in the line till it opened for us. It took around 10mins to get out of the tunnel. I made my way to a small coffee shop called Wild catch cafe in Whittier close to the port which not only offers coffee but alcohol and food as well. Whittier is a very small town with a population of around 300 people during summer and 100 in the winter. I grabbed a coffee and took some beautiful pictures of Whittier till it was time for my cruise.

The cruise was Prince William Sound glacier cruise which also took us to the salmon hatchery in the end. Cruising is the best way to explore the water and glaciers in Alaska. We saw beautiful waterfalls, breathtaking views of mountains and glaciers of course on our way. It took around 2 hours to get to the glacier. However, you enjoy the beautiful scenery on the way and wildlife including sea otters, dolphins, orcas, and birds. When you get to the glacier, it’s absolutely pristine and quiet. It was a magical feeling to be amidst nature in its truest form. On the way to the actual glacier, you see three other glaciers which give you an idea of what to expect. Our cruise offered margarita and drinks with the fresh ice that they picked from the glacier.The cruise was about 6 hrs long and offered the beauty of Alaska in its true form. It was completely worth it. Here are some pictures from the cruise.

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View from the cruise!

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Three random glaciers!

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I wish I had a life like this!!

After the cruise, I decided to get the famous fish and chips in one of the restaurants near the port. There are only 4-5 restaurants in Whittier and all are near the port and that’s literally it. After hogging delicious fish and chips I was ready to explore Seward and my drive on Seward highway. Seward highway is supposed to be one the scenic drives in Alaska and it sure was. You see the Turnagain arm, Chugach national forest, moose pass, Kenai Lake, bear lake.

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View on Seward highway!

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I was staying in a cabin near Exit glacier. One of the most accessible glaciers in the south of Alaska. The view from the cabin was extremely beautiful and unexpected. The cabin was literally in the middle of a forest and I kinda got scared but thankfully sun sets around 11:00 PM during summer :D. I went to see Exit glacier and then back to my cabin. Freshened up a bit and decided to check out the small town of Seward. 4th avenue is where all the bars and restaurants are at. They are small and quaint. I would suggest trying Yukon bar it has good music and beer.

 

Day 3:

Sunday was the time to drive back to Anchorage from Seward and enjoy the scenic drive and beautiful landscape of Alaska before I left. It was three hours drive from Seward to Anchorage. It was just perfect to see everything once again although it was a little gloomy day.

After three hours of drive, I was in Anchorage and decided to get some brunch in before it was time to catch my flight.

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Do’s:

  1. Book glacier cruises in advance. I booked  mine in major marine tours
  2. Road trip is the way to explore Alaska
  3. Fish and chips is a must try
  4. Seward scenic highway drive (for breathtaking views)
  5. Try looking in the left-hand mirror while driving or just stop and enjoy the view in the backdrop ( you will be amazed)
  6. Look out for the scenic view points on the way to stop in advance
  7. I would also recommend one more night in Homer near Kachemak bay more south of Alaska as the drive just gets better.

Alaska was by far the most heavenly experience ever after Washington. And two days were definitely not enough to soak in its gorgeousness. It just kept me longing for more and I really am looking forward to going again but this time to north of Alaska to see the northern lights ❤

 

 

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