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Road Tripping the Seward Highway

The month of June brought spring to Alaska, and with it, my brother and sister. We put together the first Thornton Sibling Reunion by embarking on a road trip to Seward AK.

The Seward Highway is one of the most famous drives in the US, known for it's beautiful scenery, many lookout points, car crashes and crazy weather conditions. My Alaskan beater vehicle is a little Ford Focus, that smells like an ash tray, is missing a radio, has dim but still legal headlights, and a front windshield you have to angle a your head a bit to see past all the cracks.

It was perfect for the 3hr drive to the Kenai peninsula!

We hurried through the first part of the drive, stopping in Anchorage for smoothies, muffins, and iced coffees. Making good time, our first taste of the salt air was at Beluga Point Site.

Beluga Point is a lookout spot along the Seward Highway. The North Pacific Ocean makes it's way to the south part of Alaska, creating the Gulf of Alaska. The Gulf of Alaska wraps around the Kenai Peninsula and slices through towering mountains creating the most beautiful fog, rain, and cloud formations.

This magical spot is called the Turnagain Arm.

Along the Turnagain Arm, winds howl and rip, bouncing off the sides of the mountains and down the steep coast.

After reaching the end of the Turnagain Arm, we took a detour to hike the Portage Glacier. What we weren't expecting was the wind to get even more intense and the rain to come pouring in.

We drove miles through IFR conditions to find the trails unwalkable and the boat tours cancelled for the glacier. Unfortunately we didn't get to walk to the toe of the glacier, but we did spend some time at the lake just below it.

The water of Portage Lake was chalky aqua blue and the waves met the sharp rocks on the edge in bubbly white foam that looked deceptively soft. We braved the weather for a stolen moment along the water and then hurried back to the car to crank up the heat and dive into the twizzlers.

Portage Lake was my favorite part of the trip!

The rest of the drive consisted of driving through pouring rain and around windy hills. Our destination: a cabin in the quite forest just north of the town of Seward and the Exit Glacier.

We stayed one night but immediately wished we had longer.

The cabin was tucked into a cove of towering pine trees, the gravel floor was moist from the rain and covered in deep green moss. The air itself felt crisp and the smell was clean and fresh. We spent some time outside the cabin soaking in every moment playing with our senses. IF you ever read Fern Gulley as a child, you'll know which world I was instantly transported to.

We explored the city of Seward, which sits quaintly along the North Pacific Ocean. Walking up and down the main streets downtown, we gift shopped like the tourists we were and spent extra time at a local pub and candy shop. There's something so perfect about fudge and clam chowder on a chilly, rainy day.

The Seward boat harbor is a must see.

Sailboats, rich with character and shiny with new adventure line the harbor as far as the eye can see. The water is bright teal, blue and sea gulls dance along its gentle waves. The harbor has many restaurants and shops if you want to stay a while.

We walked up and down the pier and laughed at the clever names of the different boats. On the water, we watched fishermen come and go, some happy, some tired. Looking up to the sky, we watched float planes flying low overhead.

Our main adventure in Seward was a kayaking adventure that would take half the day and bring us along the coast and around several small islands. We were hoping to see whales, sea otters, and waterfalls along the way.

We grabbed lunch at a shop next to our kayak rental spot, Lowell Point, and went on a quick hike before taking off.

A water taxi took us to Thumb Cove, where we launched with 4 other visitors in the poring rain. We were bundled up, in jackets, cover in rain coats, with gloves and hats. But we couldn't be stopped.

The rain made the colors pop and the cold air brought a mysterious chill to the inlet. We spent the next 4-5 hrs kayaking along the coast and weren't disappointed.

While we didn't see any whales, we did catch a sea otter popping under the water and countless starfish clinging to the rocks. The water was dark and icy, but closer to the edge, you could see through to the tiny fish and other life floating around the pebbles.

Purple Mountains Majesty had a whole new meaning, as the towered above us, lining the cove. Topped in snow, even in late spring, waterfalls trekked down the slopes, frozen in time and temperature.

We were soaked through by the time we finished, sore and hungry, but we were happy.

Seward is a costal town that brings fantasy and adventure to life. We finished the day with seafood dinners at Exit Glacier Salmon Bake. I had the king crab and white wine. It was buttery and a perfect end to the perfect day.

As we drove home, we were a collective mix of tired, wet, awestruck, and content. Those two days through south-central Alaska made for the perfect sibling adventure and I can't wait for our next.

If you have only a few days to spare, I can't recommend enough the road trip to Seward Alaska.


Thank you for following my journey and remember,

Have fun while flying through this crazy life!


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