Exploring Downtown Anchorage
Alaska is such a big state! To get to the heart of it – Anchorage – we took an early taxi yesterday to Sea-Tac airport to catch a 10 am Alaska Airlines flight. The flight took around 3 hours 40 minutes. We are booked into the Embassy Suites, Anchorage for 2 nights. The hotel is in Midtown Anchorage, but there is a free airport shuttle Downtown, so exploring is easy.
We spent a couple of hours exploring downtown Anchorage on the afternoon we arrived. The Saturday afternoon craft market was a good place to visit. We bought a sunhat!
First job the next day was an early morning walk to Walmart to buy some English breakfast tea. Only coffee in the room – just not the same and worth a bit of a walk to find the real thing. Everything in Walmart seemed to be supers-ized – the minimum milk carton was 4 litres?!
Tony Knowles Coastal Trail
Then, we took the free airport shuttle from Midtown to Downtown Anchorage. We walked for a couple of hours along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, which was a good start to the day. The sun was shining brightly, but there was a chill in the air early on. The area reminded me a bit of the Camargue – marshy mud flats, with lots of birdlime.
Alaska Public Lands Information Centre
A visit to the Alaska Public Lands Information Centre was informative.
We learned about the bear reserve at Kenai, where visitors draw lots to be allowed to form part of a limited number tour. Humans coexist with bears there, with strict rules about leaving each other alone, no feeding etc. It all seems to work well – although what would happen in a bad Winter if the beats got hungry I don’t know. There has never been a casualty though.
We learned about the Gold Rush and an obliging park ranger showed us how to pan for gold and treated us to a trip through the emergency exit doors to see Mount McKinley in the distance – a rare sight in Anchorage, because usually, it is too cloudy to see it at all. He was pretty excited about it.
Lunch was at Humpy’s – a great alehouse with a choice of over 50 draught beers and a pledge of “no crap on tap”! We had a bowl of broccoli and cheese soup with a taster flight of Alaskan beers – superb.
Captain Cook Tour
Learning the Lingo
I learned some Alaskan today:
Bluebird – a perfect sunny day with a blue sky
Cheechako – a newcomer, who hasn’t done a Winter yet
Outside – Any place other than Alaska – i.e. the Lower 48
Sourdough – an Alaskan old-timer
Termination Dust – light snow on the mountain tops signalling the end of Summer