Alaska - Day 2: Kena

Anchorage Travel Blog

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Byron Glacier

Day 2, 7-22-07:


           What sticks out most from this day was meeting Kena.  She would become an integral part of our trip.

Aaron and I left Anchorage early.  Much more early than Meghan and Travis were going to get up since they went out to the bars Saturday night and didn’t get in until very late. 

            It was a misty, overcast day but that didn’t stop us from starting the exploration of the Kenai Peninsula. 

            We first stopped at Byron Glacier and hiked up to the Glacier wall.

Aaron at the wall of Byron Glacier
  It was a short hike at about 2 miles round-trip.  We could hear it melting and rocks falling from it as we stood near it.  It was like an animal, but in hibernation. 

            Aaron and I drove to Seward.  It was about 2 hours south of the glacier, and the prunes from the grocery store were starting to have their affect on us.  We stopped at the hostel right on the main drag coming into town (Seward Hwy. or 3rd Ave.).  The hostel’s name is Moby Dick (  The owner, a fully-bearded man named Eugene with a thick Swiss accent, didn’t have any bunks at their main building, but they had a satellite building down the street.  They let Aaron and I check it out first before we paid, and said there was only one woman currently booked for the bunks that night.

            The satellite building is a small, two-story unmarked building with a breeze-way where you’re supposed to take off your shoes.  It’s a custom in Alaska that you take off your shoes at the door.  I went in (without taking off my shoes…don’t tell anyone!) first.  The first floor had two bedrooms, kitchen and bathroom.  In the kitchen there was a ladder-like staircase going up to the 2nd floor.  I peered up and said “Hello, anyone here?”  A woman answered, “Hi!  Just me!”  She came to the top of the staircase.  I could tell she was in her 30’s or 40’s, short blonde hair, and attractive.  She came down the stairs, and started chatting with me and Aaron.

            She described her trip thus far.  She had been in Katmai up until then with a friend.  She went on for about 10 minutes about the grizzlies at Katmai and how they were all over; babies, males, females, all interacting with one another.  She said grizzlies would just walk on by you as you strolled down the paths.  Aaron and I couldn’t believe what we were hearing and seeing.  As Kena described the bears she would jump on the couch (to accentuate height), touch her toes (to show how the bears looked bending over the river for fish), or display an imaginary gash on her hip (one bear had a large hanging piece of skin from a past fight). 

            Aaron and I decided to stay there that night.

            Later on we found ourselves at the Yukon Bar down the street.  Kena said she was meeting a new friend, Kelly, she had met in town who had given her a massage earlier that day, and she asked us if we’d like to join her.  An Alaskan guitar/song-writer legend named Hobo Jim ( was playing and the crowd was very lively as he played popular covers mixed in with jokes and his own works.

            The crowd consisted of Aussies, hostellers, and locals.  About 75 people filled the » 400 sq. ft. bar.  Dollar bills littered the ceilings and walls.  The two bartenders were rushing around like puffins with their heads cut off.  The pool table in the back near us was unused all night due to the talent of Hobo Jim to keep the crowd’s attention.  Smoke filled the air as if there was no smoking ban controversy going on in nearby Anchorage.

            As 2am approached there was talk from the other hostellers about going to The Pit which stays open until 5am.  It was about 5 miles up the road and no one wanted to drive.  So we said our goodbyes and we headed back to the hostel.  And thanks to Kena who reminded me to drink lots of water prior to hitting the hay!

Girl_from_Germany says:
That Grizzlies part sounds scary! Have you seen one?
Posted on: Aug 02, 2007
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Byron Glacier
Byron Glacier
Aaron at the wall of Byron Glacier
Aaron at the wall of Byron Glacier
photo by: anupa_rk