Alaska Day 2 - Anchorage the largest city of Alaska

Anchorage Travel Blog

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4th Avenue

Anchorage is the largest city of Alaska. Like New York City is not the state capital, Anchorage is also NOT the capital of Alaska. With a population of about 292.000 persons (a bit less than Utrecht NL) it houses about 40% of the population of the whole state. There is only one state which has a higher percentage of people living in the largest city: New York!

Historically seen it is very strange that the city became what it currently is. Unlike other cities in Alaska Anchorage does not have metal minerals, so no mine activity, nor does it have a fishing fleet. The city started as a huge tent camp in 1915, short after the Alaskan Railroad designated the area of Anchorage's Ship Creek as the starting point of a rail road. The crossroads caused the city to grow.

Lake Hood Seaplane Base
The aviation gave another boost. The main airstrip in the 1930, Delany Park Strip, served an interesting combination of Airport AND golf course! The field is currently a park again.

On March 27th 1964 the world's second largest earthquake hit and severely destroyed Anchorage and surrounding villages. Not only buildings collapsed but complete parts of the city just slid away into the ocean.

The city is located slightly more Northern than Oslo but is, given its spot on the edge of wilderness, one of the few cities in the world where it is completely normal that moose and bears walk into the streets and gardens. And salmon swims in the city's creeks.

Given our unconventional flight schedules we had planned a day in Anchorage, just in case one of us missed a connection. And besides that it is interesting to see something of the city.

A 747 taking of over our heads
We started in the city center, downtown. In the weekend before Labor Day we, of course, picked a wrong time. Everything looked rather deserted. An interesting construction is the 4th Avenue Theatre an old Art Deco Cinema. Unfortunately the building is not in use anymore. Hopefully it will not decay like its colleague Cinelandia which I saw earlier this year in Curaçao.

Our next stop was Resolution Park a nice little park with a viewing platform over the Knik Arm which offers (if it is a clear day like today) views on Northern America's highest point, Mount McKinley, which lies about 120 miles (194km) further to the North. We were lucky to see it.

Onward we went to Lake Hood.

A moose in Kincaid Park
This lake is located next to Ted Stevens International Airport. Or maybe we should say it the other way around. The lake was there long before the airport was even there. The shape of the lake makes it an excellent location for water planes to land and take off. And that is exactly what they do. Of and on! Lake Hood Seaplane Base is world's largest water plane airport. Since no-one can walk on the "runways" it is very easy to get close to the landing and ascending planes. Very spectacular!

We kept moving. And our new destination was Earthquake Park, this is the site of the above mention landslide caused by the 1964 earthquake. Nature has reclaimed the area. From the ground it looks just like a nice rugged forest. Google Maps, however, still reveals that something happened here.

At the end of the day
It is a nice place to make an afternoon walk. When one walks a bit more to the west one gets right at the head of North-South runway of Ted Stevens Airport, which abruptly ends at a 45-meter (148-feet) high abyss. It is very impressive to see the big boeing-747s take of just before the fence and make their way into the air above the sea.

We moved towards the other side of the airport to Kincaid Park. This wide park encompasses a variety of landscapes, from grasslands, forest, and hills. A lot of sports facilities have been integrated in the park. One would almost forget that this is also the border of wilderness and wild animals like, Lynx, Fox, Moose, and Bear live here as well. We hiked a 3-km hike and while joggers, soccer and frisbee players where everywhere we, to our delight and surprise, ran into two young moose which where enjoying the fresh green grass of the park.

On our way back to the hotel, we stopped at another park, and while driving there, we saw two more moose. These were just, as earlier mentioned, walking in the streets of the residential area. Not bad for the first day!

More pictures below!

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4th Avenue
4th Avenue
Lake Hood Seaplane Base
Lake Hood Seaplane Base
A 747 taking of over our heads
A 747 taking of over our heads
A moose in Kincaid Park
A moose in Kincaid Park
At the end of the day
At the end of the day
4th Avenue Theatre, 4th Avenue
4th Avenue Theatre, 4th Avenue
4th Avenue Theatre, in the past
4th Avenue Theatre, in the past
View on the Alaskan Range from Res…
View on the Alaskan Range from Re…
View on the Alaskan Range from Res…
View on the Alaskan Range from Re…
Downtown Anchorage is mainly souve…
Downtown Anchorage is mainly souv…
Lake Hood Seaplane Base
Lake Hood Seaplane Base
Lake Hood Seaplane Base
Lake Hood Seaplane Base
Lake Hood Seaplane Base
Lake Hood Seaplane Base
Earthquake Park, this used to be c…
Earthquake Park, this used to be …
The steep cliff at the end of the …
The steep cliff at the end of the…
A 747 taking of over our heads
A 747 taking of over our heads
Near Earthquake Park
Near Earthquake Park
Near Earthquake Park
Near Earthquake Park
A moose in Kincaid Park
A moose in Kincaid Park
A moose in Kincaid Park
A moose in Kincaid Park
A moose in Kincaid Park
A moose in Kincaid Park
A moose in Kincaid Park
A moose in Kincaid Park
Kincaid Park
Kincaid Park
Kincaid Park
Kincaid Park
At the end of the day
At the end of the day
At the end of the day
At the end of the day
Anchorage
photo by: anupa_rk