Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Alaska: Driving Down the Kenai Peninsula to Seward

Just when you think you have run out of great scenery, you find yourself riding a bus down the Kenai Peninsula to Seward.  First off you hit Potter Marsh.

Then the Turnagain Arm opens out on your right 

On both side of the Arm the peaks rise up precipitously right from sea level. 

On the left hand side the road is cut into the mountatin side.

Frequently the highway crosses bridges over salmon streams that come coursing down from the heights to flow into the Arm.

The fisherfolk were out on this one that may be Bird Creek
We stopped for lunch at a ski resort called  Alyeska.  There is a large hotel at the bottom of the mountains and a tramway that carries you up to where the ski runs begin.

 When you get up to the tippy top you find a restaurant and bar.

From the circular observation platform you get a view of several glaciers tucked into the high saddles of surrounding mountains.

A storm blew in across the way while we were on top and this view,  much like a classic Japanese print, turned out to be one of my favorite photos of the entire trip.

Looking to the south from the top the very end of Turnagain Arm was every bit as spectacular as the glacial heights.
Tides in the Arm are among the highest in the world and at low tide the mud flats stretch for miles.

  Out in back of the tram house were trails leading to additionl ski tows.

Summer hikers were encouraged to stroll, but not without reading this admonition.

Since the paragliders didn't set down until they reached the meadow down at the hotel, I guess they didn't need to worry about the sign. 

As we glided back down on the tram,  we saw a brave group of walkers working their way up the hard way.  Road Scholars do have some perks.

 Returning once again to sea level, we re-mounted our sturdy coach and left the Turnagain Arm behind. 

In another hour we had finished our run into Seward and were resting contently at the immaculate and scenic in its own right, Windsong Lodge.

We sipped a gin and tonic on the porch outside the dining room and enjoyed this view that evening.

It was a tender chicken breast with mushroom sauce for dinner, topped off with homemade ice cream.   Tomorrow it's down to the Seward Harbor,  a visit to the Sea Life Center, and then on board  our cruise ship the S.S. Zaadam.   

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