Wild Belugas and Seven Glaciers!
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An overnight in Anchorage finally worked out and it was an evening full of sight seeing firsts!
The silver lining to my last attempted mileage run to Anchorage was making friends with @VisitAnchorage who did his best to salvage my brief time there. That didn’t work out, but he was kind enough to pick me up from the airport this time around so I could ride the Alyeska tram before I flew out to Barrow.
Alyeska is about an hour outside of Anchorage in Girdwood and involves a very scenic drive along the Seward Highway for most of it. Another friend had spotted Belugas here the previous weekend and my tour guide/friend advised me to keep my eyes peeled. About 20 minutes in, the magic happened. I saw that telltale snow white blob in the water!
After plastering my face to the window, I think I just started shrieking “Beluga! There’s a beluga out there! I saw one!” Fortunately there was a place to pull over nearby and I was able to snap a couple of bad pictures to commemorate the experience. The pictures don’t do it justice, but there was nothing like watching that marshmallow swim off into the sunset!!!
I kept my eyes peeled for other white bumps in the sound, but my beluga luck was over. Which was all for the good, because I soon became transfixed by the sight of my first hanging glacier near Girdwood.
Glaciers I’ve actually seen a few of, but a hanging glacier? All that dramatic white and blue on an otherwise bare mountain? Incredible.
On the way to Alyeska Resort we passed signs proclaiming the Fungi Festival (I’m not kidding). The tram goes up 2300 feet, offering a view of 7 glaciers. The snow had almost completely melted from the ski slopes, offering a very dramatic view. Even more so when I realized that the ski trails become mountain biking trails in the summer!
Getting up there is a bit pricey, $20 per adult, but if you go for dinner at Seven Glaciers the tram is free. Dinner however, is also pricey 🙂 But I bet if you’re there in the summer when there’s daylight until 11PM (sunset was 9PM for us), the view of all seven glaciers (for which the restaurant is named) would be totally worth it.
We decided to just grab drinks at the bar, which even at 9PM still had a great view of one of the glaciers. The wine list was surprisingly good (and not as expensive as it could have been). I also ordered an Alaskan Halibut ceviche which was so good it gave the best ceviche I’ve ever had a run for its money.
My friend ordered the mushroom risotto. Quite fitting given the fungi festival going on, and most of the mushrooms we didn’t recognize. We asked the bar tender who then had the chef come out and give us a run through of what was on offer, with 5 of the 7 being locally produced (which explained the incredible flavor).
I was particularly happy the chef came out since, while he was presenting the various types of fungi I was able to sneak a bunch of them out of the risotto and eat them before my friend noticed.
Hopefully weather and flights will work out on our upcoming mileage run so Jeanne can also experience the mind blowing views and the tasty local Alaska cuisine.
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