Yesterday we did well to advance kilometers until we reached the place where we slept. The Lake Louise State Recreation Area has been a good choice. It is the typical camping place that we are meeting these days. Quiet, with lots of space and surrounded by nature. In this case next to the huge Lake Louise, where we have taken a walk before continuing the route. We make the 19 miles that separate us from the Glenn Highway and go to Palmer.
It's raining, and we stop to put gas at mile 128. There we found the restaurant cum lodge. As the universal flood begins to fall and it's been a long, windy day, we decided to start making a very hot coffee. We love the place. It's the typical American town cafe, with the tables and bar that we are used to seeing in the movies.
Only the place is full of hunters, all dressed the same in military clothing, and cap. They are bearded and pot-bellied. I think it shows quickly that we are not from Wisconsin, precisely. We decided to make a brunch and eat something. We order a hamburger and a cinnamon roll.
We continue forward with a full stomach. We are going to visit the Matanuska Glacier, one of the ones with the easiest access. At mile 102 we find the entrance to Glacier Park. It is an unpaved road and with all the rain that falls, it is turning into a bumpy mud. We go down very carefully. We even hesitate when crossing a narrow wooden bridge. We arrived at a kind of wooden building, half store-half park office. It turns out that the road to access the glacier is private, and we must pay $ 20 per person to pass.
We drive another 2 miles until we hit a huge glacier. What a feeling. In front of the caravan, we have one of the largest glaciers in the United States. The pity is that it does not stop raining, and the sky is very covered. What can we do! We decided to do a 1/4 mile walk until we reached the base of the glacier. The road is full of mud and water, and the rain begins to leave us well soaked, but we only look forward, towards the huge expanse of ice that seems gigantic.
There comes a point where it indicates that continuing is everyone's responsibility because it can be a bit dangerous. We walk a little on the ice until we see that it starts to slip too much. In fact, I am about to fall on my ass, and the truth is that the contact of ice on the skin is not very pleasant. We enjoy the views for a while, but we go back, soaked to the bone!
As always, we must have a photographic memory of our step. We make more road, with much attention, since the rain causes small rock slides on the road. Finally, around 6 pm, the clouds open and the sun appears. At last! We were waiting for it with so much desire that it seems like a magical vision.
We arrived in the city of Palmer. It's a little bigger than we were used to lately. As we see that there is a supermarket and they have a gas station, we take advantage of purchases and fill the deposit up. The first day of travel we took out a customer card and we have to take advantage of the discount they give us!
We searched the campsite Mountain View RV Park, which we had read was fine. We arrived just as it begins to get dark. They have electricity and wifi so we can load the pots. Very often we have to look for a library or a bar that has wifi to connect us.
Day 12 - In Palmer, with a little social life
We needed it! After so much nature and seeing very few people, it has been good to return to the city atmosphere. Well, the city is a saying. Palmer is small, but at the moment it is the city that we liked most of the trip. Typical wide streets and space everywhere, separate the buildings with huge tracts of land. As you can tell we have plenty. We ask for information at the Visitor Center. We look at gift shops, and we eat at the cafeteria cum restaurant that we love. Eating with other people from time to time is not so unpleasant.
How are these Americans? They even take money from ATMs without leaving the car. In Palmer we find a sculpture marking the distance in miles to many parts of the planet. Today it has not rained all day, and that has helped us a lot. We still have a lot of clothes drying from yesterday's flood.
We cover kilometers and go back to Anchorage, the city where we started the route. We do not stop. We will return to step on the last day. We continue along Highway 1 until we enter the Turnagain Arm, a long tongue of the sea inland.
There are plenty of viewpoints and places to stop for walks. At mile 111'9 we find the McHugh Creek Picnic Area. There we left the caravan and we went through the forest by one of the several treks. The trails are well marked and the forest is dense and full of vegetation. The posters that warn of the presence of bears create a strange sensation to us.
It is a mixture of wanting to meet one and at the same time not crossing any. Some hikers carry bells hanging to make a continuous noise. We will have to buy one! We circled a small river until we reached the starting point. It is a simple walk, but you can choose longer and more complicated trips.
Further on, in Birds Point Scenic Overlook, we stop to see the rise of the tide. It is pure mathematics. On the internet, we saw that at 17: 32h the sea level would rise, and we would match it to see it live. This is one of the best spots in the world where you can see the rapid change of the tide. It's amazing. At the time you see how a small wave goes into what was beach until a moment ago and gradually floods the entire length.
We enter the Kenai Peninsula. It was getting late and we do not know where to spend the night. We decided to do it in a free camping area, but due to some works on the road, we passed the point of entry. Every day we find some area of works. They do not stop to fix the roads and they have everything super well organized and signposted. Finally, we see a couple of moose, but we cannot stop and take pictures.
A little further on we find a campsite that looks good, and although it is already 8:00 pm and it starts to get dark. We find a friendly receptionist who tells us where to stand. The place is small, but we are among the mountains of the Kenai Peninsula.
Day 13 - Exit glacier
Today is the second day we visited a glacier, and again we enjoy seeing so close a huge mass of ice. After leaving the Renfro's Lakeside Retreat campsite (as these Yankees like the long names), we start the caravan towards the city of Seward (one of the most important on the Kenai Peninsula). Before, we deviated from Highway 9 (mile 3.7) in Exit glacier direction, located in Kenai Fjords National Park. A small road of just over 8 miles leads to a parking area from where different trekkings to approach the ice.
The rain again accompanies us, and on the way along the road, we meet a hiker who made the route on foot towards the glacier. He looks at us with a sad face and lifts his finger hitchhiking. We stop to pick him up. The poor man is soaked and he has a huge backpack. But how do you want to do more than 12 kilometers walking? He's from Boston and he's making a route through Alaska alone. We share a caravan until we reach the parking lot.
He tells us he wants to do the longest trek, the Harding Icefield Trail, but we settle for a shorter walk. We want to reach the point called The Edge of the Glacier. It is a very beautiful route, with a slight slope that leads us to find you close to the huge piece of ice. We see some signs that mark the extent of the glacier in different years, and we quickly realize the retreat suffered by the ice.
The rain does not help much to make the journey, but we do not care! We had a good time in front of the huge mass of ice, which has such characteristic bluish colors. When we return to the caravan it has already been more than 2 and a half hours.
We take advantage that we have the caravan parked to visit the city. The main street with restaurants and shops and the port on one side. We went to eat something light in a mix of pastry and coffee shop.
We go in the motorhome to the campsite where we will sleep. We have it written down on our list, and it is on the outskirts of the city. Looks very good. When we arrived, we made a mistake and that allows us to see all the facilities. Hell, in addition to the camping area has cabins and wooden buildings, hotel type. We entered the reception decided to stay. The answer of an intriguing lady to our question of whether there is a place tonight is: "Are you from the military? It turns out that we have gone to a camping area and only military rooms.
We return to Seward, and camp just in front of the sea, in an area that the city has ready for campers. It's not bad at all. We move the caravan so that the window of the bed hits the water. It is very true what our friends told us, who visited Alaska a few years ago. The best views, if you visit this territory, are always from the campers!
Day 14 - Seward