Driving from Anchorage to Seward, and Home to Whitehorse

This is a recap of the past 3 days – a tour of Anchorage, the drive to Seward where the group boarded the Celebrity Millennium, and my drive home to Whitehorse.

This was the view up 4th Avenue from my room at the Historic Anchorage Hotel on Thursday morning at 05:50 – the sun had been up for almost an hour by then.

The view from the Historic Anchorage Hotel

With the weather forecast calling for temps in the low 70s, I opted to go to the Alaska Native Heritage Center first. We arrived as a Native games demonstration was going on – this is the One Foot High Kick.

One Foot High Kick

A Tlingit dance group was next on the stage.

Tlingit dance group

This is the Tlingit salmon dance.

The upper part of the totem pole beside the Tlingit longhouse.

Tlingit totem pole

The Tlingit longhouse and the carving shed where James Williams is working on the potlatch bowl.

Tlingit longhouse and carving shed

The Native center has a high berm separating the public area of the property from the service area, and it’s covered with this carpet of flowers – very nice!

Wild flowers in Alaska

This photo of gardeners working outside my hotel was shot a few minutes before 11:00pm.

Working in the gardens at 11pm

We began the drive to Seward on Friday morning at 9:00, and an hour later stopped along Turnagain Arm for some photos. The “mist” at the far end of the arm is dust being blown off a sandbank. Because of its scenic, natural, historical and recreational values, the 127-mile Seward Highway between Anchorage and Seward holds 3 significant designations: USDA Forest Service Scenic Byway, Alaska Scenic Byway, and All-American Road.

Turnagain Arm

The group’s first glacier, the Explorer Glacier beside the Portage Road.

Explorer Glacier, Alaska

The Byron Glacier is at the furthest end of the road to Portage Lake.

Byron Glacier

We reached Seward just before 1:00, made a quick stop so the folks could get their allotment of wine to take aboard, then went down to the dock. Seeing the Celebrity Millennium made me want to head up the gangplank again too – our cruise on her last month was superb!

Celebrity Millennium

Heading north by myself, I stopped a few miles up the highway to clean the bugs off the windshield and stock up on bottled water for the long drive ahead.

Seward Highway

One of the porters at the Seward dock had mentioned that the highway was closed at Mile 78. I figured it was another traffic accident, and that it would be cleared by the time I got there. I was shocked to find this situation at Mile 62!!

Traffic jam on the Seward Highway

We were out of range of any radio or cell phone signals, but the guy in the car behind me heard somewhere that there was a sniper taking shots at people on the road! As I write this, the story still isn’t clear, but a red-and-black lowrider pickup truck that we saw at the side of the highway with a State Trooper with all his emergency lights on was the key to the drama, so whatever the story turns out to be, it started within a few minutes of us passing that pickup. Wild stuff!

By the time the traffic cleared about 3 hours later, my plan to make it to Glennallen for the night was gone. I checked with the Historic Anchorage Hotel – they had no rooms, so I decided to drive another hour to Palmer where I could get a motel for 1/3 the price of downtown Anchorage. The Alaska Choice Inn is very basic but the room I got was clean and good value at under $80 including taxes. I had a good night’s sleep and took this photo at 04:30 Saturday morning as I was about to hit the road again.

Alaska Choice Inn, Palmer

I can never pass by the viewpoint over the massive glacier-fed Matanuska River without a photo.

Matanuska River

The Glenn Highway threads its way through the mountains ahead at 05:20.

Glenn Highway

The view of the Matanuska River from Mile 95 at 05:35.

Matanuska River

The dramatic colours of Sheep Mountain.

Sheep Mountain - Glenn Highway, Alaska

Into a broad glacial valley.

The Glenn Highway is the most under-appreciated highway in Alaska by visitors to the state. From spectacular peaks to a large roadside glacier and permafrost lakes, the scenery is wonderful.

Permafrost lake along the Glenn Highway

There’s a lot of highway re-re-rebuilding going on along the Alaska Highway, which slowed the trip down, but to cut the rest of the story short, I’m home – back with Cathy and all the fur-kids.

Construction on the Alaska Highway


Driving from Anchorage to Seward, and Home to Whitehorse — 4 Comments

  1. Your cruise last month and tour-guide trip has made me and the husband so homesick for Alaska…we’re coming back next year.

  2. We were on the Millenium the last cruise we took. That picture you said you couldn’t resist….I remember that view vividly and can understand why you can’t resist. I’ve see it 3 times and I always tell my wife that it looks like another world.

  3. Neal – I’m sure that you enjoyed the Millennium before, but you should see her now after the rebuild! Some year very soon, Cathy and I are going to spend a few days on the Glenn Highway instead of the quick drive-by I get while moving buses.

    It’s always nice to have you along, Bruce.