Monday, August 23, 2010

Alcan Roadtrip Day 5: Welcome to Alaska! Beaver Creek, Yukon to Anchorage, Alaska

We woke up in Beaver Creek and left our hotel room to find this girl exercising to a workout video playing on her laptop in the middle of the parking lot:
If she was an employee of the Rendezvous at Beaver Creek, then I certainly understand her need to blow off steam and I admire her dedication to keeping up an exercise routine in the middle of nowhere. If she was on vacation and still doing this, she needs to learn to relax.

The U.S. border is right outside Beaver Creek, so we soon reached Alaska, complete with signposts giving the distance in miles:
We stopped in Glenallen for lunch, where I was served an Alaska-sized grilled cheese sandwich:
Three slices of bread! Two layers of cheese! I am something of a grilled cheese sandwich connoisseur, and this was exceptional. I actually ate the entire thing (the fries, not so much).

Next we took a short detour down the highway that leads to Valdez so we could make a quick stop at Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. We only went to the visitor center and did the short loop trail with views of the mountains and the Copper River (where so much delicious salmon comes from) - this park is more suited to back-country excursions. But I have a silly personal goal of visiting all the National Parks, if only for a few hours, so that's one of the more remote ones off the list! Although I would like to return to do some real hiking.

The flags at the visitor center were at half mast for Ted Stevens.


From there, we pushed on to Anchorage. Soon after we entered the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, in the distance to the left we saw the Nelchina Glacier.




This was definitely our "we're actually in Alaska!" moment. Having never been so close to a glacier, when we first saw it from far away we weren't even sure that's what it was - it looked more like clouds coming down from the mountain. It was breathtaking. Later, we were able to get even closer to the Matanuska glacier:

We finally got to Anchorage, found an actual, nice, sit-down restaurant and split a big dinner of king crab legs. We were so grateful to eat something other than diner food!