Day 5 - We bade good bye to the Denali area and started driving towards Seward in the morning. The cloudy, overcast sky dashed our hopes of being able to see Mt. McKinley along the way.
After a break for lunch in Wasilla (Mekong Thai), our next stop was in the town of Eklutna. We stopped by the Eklutna Historical Park. The park is famous for its colourful spirit houses. Traditionally the native Athabaskans buildt spirit houses over the deceased's grave. Over time, native traditions blended with those of Orthodox Christianity. Here the graves of the Athabaskan people are marked not only with their traditional spirit houses, but also with an Orthodox Christian Cross. This was undoubtedly the most cheery cemetery I have seen to date.
|Colourful native spirit houses inside Eklutna Historical Park|
Once past Anchorage, we were looking forward to our journey south on Alaska's Highway 1. Designated as a National Scenic Byway, we had heard that the sights along the 127 mile highway are unparalleled. Alas, the weather gods were not on our side; the sky was a morose grey and a light drizzle accompanied us throughout.
|AK - 1 S. The highway parallels the tracks of the Alaska Railroad most of the way.|
When we reached Seward it was about 7:30 pm. The city was getting ready for its annual 4th of July festivities. Some blocks were closed to traffic and street vendors were setting up booths. The city experiences a population explosion during this holiday due to the famous Mount Marathon race. We were lucky to have found accommodations at the Seward Front Row B&B.
We met the owner of our B&B - Tom, in his office who took us to his home - the Seward Front Row B&B. That's right, he operates the B&B in true Alaskan fashion - the host shares his home with the guests. Over the course of our travel, I came to like this concept of Alaskan B&Bs. Tom showed us around the house and helped us to our upstairs room. The house was beautiful and very thoughtfully constructed. The living room and dining were wall to wall windows and offered a spectacular view of the waterfront. I could spend all day just hanging out in that living room!
V & I took a walk around town. Dinner options seemed uninteresting overall; we grabbed a light dinner at the Chattermark. For the next day, we had made advance reservations for the National Park Tour, a wildlife and glacier cruise to the Kenai Fjords National Park. I was worried what the cruise would be like given all the rain. Tom assured us that the cruise would be fine due to low winds and clear near term visibility.
We headed out, one last time, a few minutes before midnight to watch the fireworks. Despite the rain, a lot of people had gathered near the waterfront to witness the fireworks. The fireworks weren't spectacular, but it was an interesting experience; watching fireworks in the rain, against a sky that wasn't dark. I was already tired of the rain but it appeared that it was going to be our companion for the rest of our trip.
|4th of July fireworks Seward|