After our hiking morning we were back in the RV and on our way down to Seward to snag a primo spot at a campground on the beach. Once in Seward, arriving around 3:00pm, in our not quite primo spot, one row back from the beach, we set up our little home to stay for a couple nights. We walked over to the pier to look around and grab some coffee. In case we didn’t mention it before – Dawn – was hoping to do a little running in Alaska and take advantage of the cool weather away from Texas. Stacey said, “you will get attacked by a bear”– phewy – like that would really happen (NOT). I figured Seward would be just the place and was scoping out the trails. But then while Stacey was fixin’ up her coffee – I noticed the headlines of the local paper, “Woman Mauled by Bear While Running”. Guess I won’t be running on this trip.
We woke up the first day and it was a bit overcast but we had our rain gear, our cameras, binoculars, etc. etc. and we were ready for what Backpacker magazine called one of the top 10 day hikes in the country. It was a national park ranger led hike up to the Harding Ice Field. We got there just in time as the group was heading out for the estimated 7hour day hike. WE started out very excited and although the weather was not with us and the hill was getting steeper as the hike went on – our spirits could not be daunted.
The rangers would stop occasionally, check on everyone and then head back up. Around the 2 hour mark we stopped for lunch and to catch some pictures of the glaciers come down from the ice field.
At that point we needed to decide… turn around and head back down or up another 2 hours to the top to see the ice field.
NO question – we were of course heading to the top! The hills got steeper and then we got up into the snow. At this point I was thinking my running didn’t help for squat! Because I did not run up hills like this so I did not have the right muscle strength for this type of climbing – I was huffin’ and puffin’ and feeling quite old but figured it would all be worth it at the top. Stacey seemed her happy-go-lucky self heading up ready for the picturesque views at the top.
Well needless to say we made it after 4 hours – but no glorious pay offs at the top – just fog and brief views of the ice field and then it started to rain.
Oh well, the hike down would be better and it was supposed to only take 3 ½ hours. Happy Happy right!
This is when things really got ugly!!! Down was way worse than up! Our legs were killing us and even Stacey lost her cheerful disposition. She kept saying “shouldn’t we be close” even “when will it be over” at one point. She asked me what was worst running the half marathon or this hike – I told her the half marathon was over in 2 ½ hours so it was much easier than this hike! Each stair step back down was more painful than the one before it – what the heck was Backpacking Magazine thinking when they sent us on this torturous journey! Why??? And after 6 hours and lots of water to keep us hydrated just to really top of the trip – now we had to pee too! I ended up running the last ½ mile or so on the paved trail straight to the restroom. The next morning – we could barely get out of bed because our legs hurt so bad!
Over all tho – YES WE ARE GLAD WE DiD IT – Bragging rights. I am sure it would have been more worth it if the view was nice.
Seward and Harding Ice Field
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The next day we were supposed to go out on the Saltwater Lodge Fishing/Wildlife/Glacier viewing tour which is a small boat BUT it was canceled………..BOOOOOO ….Very disappointed, but you know Dawn and I will make the most of it and find something else to do. First we had to get Stacey a rain coat as the day before on the harding ice field hike, we realize it was not really waterproof!
The larger boats were going out at least into resurrection bay so we took the” title=”Kenai Fjords Resurrection Bay Tour” target=”_blank”> As always Stacey was glad to be out doing something! As soon as the boat took off (maybe 10 minutes) and Dawn was sound asleep. Stacey ran around taking pictures of everything that was spotted like otters, gray whale, puffins, waterfalls… all while Dawn slept.
It was pouring rain almost the whole time, but the scenery was pretty, so I can just imagine what it is like when it is pretty outside. Seward was a very pretty town and we may have enjoyed it a bit more if the weather would have cooperated with us but still very pretty.
On the way out we FINALLY got to stop at the cute little coffee stand that we passed so many times that I wanted coffee from. It was a drive through, but I wanted to walk up so I could get in the picture!