I’m home and slowly settling back into regular life. The trip was excellent and far exceeded my expectations. Alaska is more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.
During the first part of our trip, we traveled with Backroads on their Alaska Multisport Trip. It was our first tour-group type trip and it was extremely well organized and well run. Our trip leaders were knowledgeable and were able to handle problems with ease and speed.
The big event of the Backroads trip was the hike up to the Harding Icefield in the Kenai Fjords National Park. This was the hike that I was most looking forward to and most dreading. Even the National Park Service calls the trail strenuous (in bold letters with an exclamation mark). Yes, I hiked up that 3,400 foot mountain! It was hard but completely worth it. The views were incredible and it was an experience that I will never forget.
Another great day with Backroads was the kayaking trip around Yukon Island. It was a wet and rainy day so I didn’t take very many photos. But we saw bald eagles, a seal, peregrine flacons, jellyfish, and otters--including several mama and baby otters. We got to use an extra-long fancy fiberglass kayak because Peter is extra-tall. (You have to click on that photo to make it huge. That otter is just too cute!)
The big bike riding day was not quite as much fun for me, but Peter really loved it. He was the only one of the group that completed the entire 33-mile trip. The day was very rainy and cold and I opted to be shuttled to the top of the mountain instead of attempting to climb it with the bike. I met Peter at the top and we rode down the slippery, steep, and scary mountain together. I ended up riding about 15 miles that day.
The day after our Backroads trip ended, we went on an amazing whale-watching trip. During the morning of the trip, we followed a pod of orcas around and during the afternoon we watched a small group of humpback whales. The boat that we were on got very close to the whales and I took a ton of photos. We also saw the one thing that I really wanted to see in Alaska--puffins! We saw both tufted and horned puffins. We also saw five volcanoes including one that was steaming. Then, to make our whale-watching day even more whale-filled, we saw another group of orcas swimming behind our hotel later that evening!
The trip was not without some fiberly goodness. Although I was unsuccessful at finding some qiviut yarn, I did find some qiviut fiber at a tiny store on the Homer Spit called Local Showcase. I bought 3 oz. figuring that I could find someone to spin it for me. It’s so amazingly soft. If you’re interested, the store owner has more and I’m sure you could contact her to purchase some. (However, one has to wonder how 1 oz. could NOT be measured "by weight.")
More photos from my trip are here including two photos just for Monkee.