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July 20, 2011 / Jim Fenton

Alaska Day 13: Exit Glacier and Seward

This article is part of a series about our recent vacation in Alaska.  To see the introductory article in the series, click here.

Despite the weather forecast, today started off mostly sunny. We opted for breakfast at the hotel, which was pretty good but (as usual) marginally too much food.

Exit Glacier Nature Center

Exit Glacier Nature Center and Exit Glacier

We went back to Kenai Fjords National Park for the 10 am ranger-led hike to the edge of Exit Glacier. As usual, the ranger (a young woman) was very informative and was able to answer all of our questions well. At the end of the hike, we found out that this is her first season at this park; like many of the seasonal rangers, she moves from park to park as required, and has previously been at Pinnacles and at Lava Beds National Monument. It makes her knowledge of the park all that much more impressive.

Unlike the Root Glacier that we visited earlier in the trip, there was a deep crevasse between us and the glacier itself, so it was not possible to walk on it this time. Nevertheless, the blue glacial ice color is worth the trip by itself. We also learned a lot more about how the forest establishes itself on ground freed by the recession of the glacier.

Today’s picnic lunch was on the front balcony at our hotel room. In addition to the sizable rooms, they have tables and chairs that were suitable for us to set up our spread of food and sit very comfortably.

After lunch, we ventured back into downtown Seward. Seward has two parts: the southern “old town” and a somewhat more touristy district further north near the marina. We started with the old town, where Shirley, Kenna, and Celeste had a great time at a quilt shop, Jim found an electronics store, I found a great cafe (with Intelligentsia coffee!), and we all loved the bookstore.

Seward Harbor

Seward Harbor

We then moved to the northern district, visiting the Kenai Fjords visitor center (excellent films), then checking out some souvenir shops and surveying possibilities for dinner.  When it came time for dinner, our first choice, a Mexican cantina, was too crowded, so we opted for an adjacent restaurant that worked out fine.

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