OK, so photo uploading quota problem fixed. Let’s finish out this honeymoon!
We woke up from the previous evening’s accidental pitcher of IPA festivities ready to roll, but needing coffee ASAP. There was one other coffee shop in town, The Grind (http://www.girdwoodgrind.com) so we headed there for our morning wake up. They had great iced coffee along with a weird but fun vibe. There is a stormtrooper in the corner…can’t say much more.
Our first major task of the day was to return the bikes, so we headed back to Anchorage. The drive on the Seward never gets old. Mountains and water are an amazing combination. The Trek store wasn’t open until 10 so we ran over to grab a quick breakfast from Snow City Cafe (http://www.snowcitycafe.com/home). Unfortunately, the line indicated this would be anything but a quick trip. I left Christine to return the bikes while she waited/ordered. She ended up being able to order a couple of green chili burritos to go. They were both good, but they certainly were not Colorado Green Chili breakfast burritos.
When we finished our burritos, we frantically headed back to Girdwood. We had paddle boards reserved in Whittier for the day, but had time constraints due to the tunnel into town. Thankfully, after a quick grab of clothes, we made the tunnel just as it was opening to allow traffic into Whittier.
The drive to Whittier once you turn off from the Seward Highway is filled with glaciers. We found ourselves looking forward to the drive home just so we could actually stop and check them out.
Now, the night before, we had been told by Kirby the Local that everything is Shittier in Whittier. We could see why they said this as the town was pretty rough and minimal, but surroundings were amazing. The mountains rose directly from the water and waterfalls tumbled from the clouds into the bay.
We picked up our paddleboards and got decked out in our wetsuits etc. The Sound Paddler (http://www.pwskayakcenter.com) is phenomenal and we enjoyed our time with them. If you’re looking to rent kayaks or paddle boards, these are the guys to go to. Family run and very helpful. We’d only done warm weather paddle boarding in Florida and Kiawah before so this was an adjustment.
It was lightly drizzling as we left the dock and we were a bit apprehensive about our upcoming experience, but as we paddled away, the rain began to lift and it turned into a beautiful afternoon. We paddled for 3 hours or so and during that time saw 2 Bald Eagles and a sea otter poking his head out. We constant found ourselves staring at the glacier to our left as it occasionally peeked our from the clouds.
At our turnaround point, we thought it might be wise to go and check out the waterfalls on the other side of the bay but after about 20 minutes of paddling and only covering a 5th of the ground we needed to, we bagged that idea.
Our paddle back in was beautiful and we were picked up by the Sound Kayaker Crew promptly and taken care of back at their home base. We did meet a French couple setting out for a multi-week kayak to explore the islands and glaciers of the area. Being that we’re not water people, this was not our first idea of fun, but it did sound incredible!
Once we had taken care of everything, we went to grab a late lunch/early dinner at the Swiftwater Cafe (http://www.swiftwaterseafoodcafe.com) which had been recommended by Mira from the Sound Paddler. The food was incredible and we found ourselves enjoying it a bit too much and we missed our tunnel time to get back.
We enjoyed the view for a bit longer and headed back on the 5:45 tunnel. We had to wait a bit longer as the Alaska Train was using the tunnel.
We took our time heading back and enjoyed getting a bit closer to the glaciers. It was amazing to see how large the pieces are that fall off. We had heard stories of calving glaciers and how loud it is as it falls, and this provided a bit of perspective to those stories. It was a bit chilly and very windy so we didn’t spend too long exploring.
We were pretty tired by the time we got back so we had a quiet night. We wandered over to Chair 5 (http://www.chairfive.com) again around 8 for pizza. Knowing what we know about pitchers of IPAs, we stuck to regular pints tonight.
Tomorrow was a big day so we got to bed early. We were looking forward to heading up to Denali and backpacking tomorrow and getting a change of scenery.