Alaska Day 3 - Anchorage to Seward via Alyeska and Hope

Alyeska Travel Blog

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Your reporter demonstrating the hand-tram (photo: Stephan van Gessel)

Today is our first real travel day. Now our big fat Chevrolet Malibu may show what she is capable of! We were heading southbound to the city of Seward. The road that leads there is called the Seward Highway Route 1 and later Route 9). This beautiful 204-km (127-mile) long road leads on the toes of the surrounding mountains around the Turnagain Arm a fjord like extension of the Cook Inlet. In Anchorage the Seward Highway is a multi lane expressway, but right outside the city the road turns into a two lane road. Furtunately not busy so it is a pleasant drive.

Immediately outside the city we stopped at Potter Marsh, a wetland created by the damming, in 1915, of several streams for the Anchorage-Seward railroad.

On the hike back to the car
The resulting marsh is a paradise for birds. A nice boardwalk is constructed. Apart from a few ordinary ducks we were lucky enough to see two American Eagles, far away in the trees.

Unfortunately the weather turned to the weather I feared, it became grey, cloudy, an unpleasantly strong wind started blowing and several small showers poured over the car. When we arrived at Girdwood, an all year round ski community, which is, althoug 60 km away from Anchorage, still part of Anchorage community. We planned our today's main attraction here. A short hike to the hand-tram. The hand-tram is a small tramway high above a wildly streaming brook. The open air tram "cabin" can hold two persons and must be operated (pulled) with human muscle power by the passengers of the tram. Really cool! Look at this link which gives a very good 360-degree-scrollable impression of the view from the tram: click here).

Along the Seward Highway near Girdwood
Of course the basket was at the other side of the river so we had to haul it in first. At the other side we were plesantly surprised by a beautiful waterfall in a canyon.

Our next stop was at the other side of the Turnagain Arm, the hamlet of Hope. This very small village with a population of about 100 persons lies almost at sea level by the Turnagain Arm. It dates back to 1896 and has a mining history. There is not much left of its busier past. The main street is the most eventful place. It is a dirt road with two cafes, a gift shop, and a camp site. Yet the place is however rather picturesque.

To our delight the weather improvement continued an by the time we entered Seward, one of the rainiest places in Alaska, the sky showed major blue spots! Just like I wanted it!

More pictures below!

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Your reporter demonstrating the ha…
Your reporter demonstrating the h…
On the hike back to the car
On the hike back to the car
Along the Seward Highway near Gird…
Along the Seward Highway near Gir…
Our route from Anchorage to Seward
Our route from Anchorage to Seward
Potter Marsh
Potter Marsh
Amarican Eagles in Potter Marsh
Amarican Eagles in Potter Marsh
Turnagain Arm
Turnagain Arm
Turnagain Arm
Turnagain Arm
On the hike to the hand-tram
On the hike to the hand-tram
The hand-tram, being hauled in fro…
The hand-tram, being hauled in fr…
The canyon with waterfall at the o…
The canyon with waterfall at the …
The canyon with waterfall at the o…
The canyon with waterfall at the …
View from the hand-tram
View from the hand-tram
View from the hand-tram
View from the hand-tram
Turnagain Arm, looking at the side…
Turnagain Arm, looking at the sid…
Turnagain Arm, looking at the side…
Turnagain Arm, looking at the sid…
Hope
Hope
North view from Hope
North view from Hope
Hope
Hope
Several miles before Seward
Several miles before Seward
Alyeska
photo by: mdalamers