Christine and I are not the type to sit on the beach and do nothing for extended periods of time. That being so, we decided to avoid the Carribean/Southern beach environment and head north to the Last Frontier for our honeymoon. This is the story that followed.
Prior to even beginning the trip, Casey Brown Dog made his feelings clear on us leaving and laid down in our duffel bag.
Direct flights to Anchorage are somewhat hard to come by from Denver, but we were able to find a relatively cheap option on Frontier (before they decided to become a slightly better version of Spirit Airlines). We landed just past midnight in Alaska and as we woke up from our flight naps, we were greeted to a rising sun during the 11 o’ clock hour.
We headed down to our condo in Girdwood, about 45 minutes south of Anchorage. The drive was beautiful and moonlit. Despite the late hour, we were able to see the mountains and the moon reflecting off the Turnagin Arm. We finally stumbled our way into bed at 2 am.
The next morning brought a slow wake up and quiet exploration of our surroundings in the daylight. We walked about a mile up the hill towards the ski resort of Alyeska. Girdwood was a bit smaller than I had anticipated so went to Alyeska for a breakfast at a great little place called The Bake Shop (http://www.thebakeshop.com). It’s a small place with only 10 tables plus a few outside, but the espresso and food was phenomenal. We didn’t know it at the time but this would become our most frequented place over the next few days.
We only and one thing to get done today: pick up the bikes from the Trek Store in Anchorage (http://www.trekstorealaska.com). They rented us Trek Fuel EX 29ers at a great rate of $75 each for 2 days (they don’t charge for the day of pickup). Before we did that though, we needed lunch.
Our first brewery stop of Alaska’s many offerings was the Glacier Brewhouse (http://www.glacierbrewhouse.com). We ended up here by accident (I intend to take us to too Midnight Sun but fat-fingered the Google Map). Nonetheless, we walked into a packed restaurant at 11 am on a Tuesday. No doubt a good sign. We took a seat at the bar and tasted a flight of their brews. They had a solid IPA and an adventurous double blonde that left a little bit to be desired in the body category.
We headed over to REI afterwards to pick up a few odds and ends we needed. Unbeknownst to us, this was the first of many trips. We picked up a few odds and ends and made a dent in our wedding gift cards. Bear spray was a necessity…but Christine disagreed…for now. More on that later.
On our way back down to Girdwood, we headed to Midnight Sun (http://msbc2014.us.cloudlogin.co). Tucked away in an industrial park, we felt like we were in Denver visiting Denver Beer Co. or Epic Brewing. Usually a good sign. Their beers were much more adventurous than Glacier and we found ourselves enjoy several tasters and a Belgian Pumpkin which was acceptable only because it felt like a fall day in Colorado.
The drive between Anchorage and Girdwood is out of this world. Steep cliffs border one side and the open expanse of the Turnagin Arm greets you on the other side. We struggled to find a direction to look on the drive. We allowed ourselves to become tourists and stop at Beluga Point to get a bit closer to the water.
Back in Girdwood, we reassembled the bikes and took them for a test ride around town. We rode around to the resort hotel which seemed a bit out of place and almost reminded me of something you would see in a stereotypical Russian picture.
The tram didn’t take bikes so we rode up underneath Chair 7 and then took the Christmas in July trail down. The trail was rated blue, but it was steep! One of the first differences we noticed between CO and AK was that Alaskans don’t bother with switchbacks or taking your time on the mountain. They go straight up or straight down.
We finished up the ride and headed back to our place. We were still catching up on our sleep, but the light was keeping us awake. We ordered a couple pizzas from Coast Pizza (http://www.coastpizza.com) and enjoy a couple beers we had picked up earlier in the day from La Bodega (http://labodegastore.com), a great bottle shop in Anchorage. After an hour, our pizza hadn’t made it, so I called down and found out that it had been given to the wrong person. They had gone to the wrong address and the person who answered was drunk enough that he actually accepted, paid for, and ate the pizza before realizing his mistake. Coast Pizza took care of it and sent us home with a free pie and salad.
Anyways, we finally dug into a delicious pie, closed the blinds to actually make it feel like night and fell asleep.