Adventure Caravans / tours by RV to Alaska and the Canadian Rockies in 2008
Adventure Caravans / tours by RV to Alaska and the Canadian Rockies in 2008
Days 35 - 36 - 37 Seward, AK
As we left Anchorage on the Seward Highway, we traveled many miles along Turnagain Arm. We were once again gifted with an incredible view around every turn. It was overcast and we occasionally ran into some rain, but that could not spoil the beauty of Alaska around us.
A number of us stopped at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC) about 50 miles south of Anchorage. It is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving Alaska’s wildlife through public education. AWCC takes in injured and orphaned animals year-round and provides spacious enclosures and quality animal care. Animals that cannot be released into the wild are given a permanent home at the center. Above are a number of Caribou sleeping taking a rest during the day. I guess it was the time for sleeping because the Moose are also taking a rest break.
However, the two brown bears thought it was time to horse around (or should I say bear around?). These two were really getting at each other in, hopefully, a playful way.

The Musk Ox is a truly Arctic animal who survived the Ice Age. Their compact size allows them to conserve heat and their long guard hair protects them from weather. To be able to survive the Arctic winters, the Musk Ox grows a thick layer of quiviut over their entire body. This fine under hair is shed each spring when it is no longer needed. The lighter wool on the top of his shoulders is the quiviut he has not shed. Quiviut is a much prized fiber being 4 times warmer than wool and not as scratchy. Due to it's relatively short supply, it is also very pricey.

These are Wood Bison. There are several characteristics that distinguish Wood bison and Plains bison. Wood bison are slightly heavier, taller, have a higher and squarer hump and have little or no chap hair on their forelegs. Wood bison also have long, straighter hair on their head and a smaller chin beard.
The scenery kept changing as we drove closer to Seward.
The picture on the left was taken by Rocky McEwan and the one on the right by Bill Shallbetter.
More scenery by Bill Shallbetter.
Dave and Sharon Wilson took a side trip and visited the quaint little town of Hope Alaska.
Most of us arrived at the Stoney Creek RV Park in the early afternoon. Ed and Ann Rzepka arrived later that day after retreiving their truck from the local Chevy dealer after repairs were completed; all their fuel injectors were replaced. Fortunately, Chevrolet picked up the bill on the repairs. The RV park is located about 5 miles from Seward. Unfortunately, it started raining about mid afternoon and continued into the evening. We drove into Seward to check it out. It's a popular stop for most cruise lines coming to Alaska. Situated at the head of Resurrection Bay on the Kenai Peninsula, Seward is one of Alaska’s oldest and most scenic communities. Known as the 'Gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park' Seward is a picturesque town located 126 miles south of Anchorage. 
Day 36 - Seward, AK
Larry, Loren and Charlie went fishing this morning and came back with five fish of varied species Charlie is showing his hand at fileting one of their catch.
This mama bear and her baby were visiting the stream that runs along one side of our RV park this morning. According to the owner of the park, she is a daily visitor. Susan and I drove into town this morning and I thought there might be someone out there who would be interested in this late model class C motorhome. Great for the outdoors person who wants to rough it.
This is the harbor area of Seward. As you can see, the harbor is filled with boats. Looking at the size of Seward, it looks like there is a boat for every family in town. Seward is an ice-free harbor, so I assume most of these boats stay in the water.
Seward has many building murals; this one caught my eye. We all visited the Alaskan Sealife Center which is Alaska’s only public aquarium and ocean wildlife rescue center. It is celebrating ten years on the shores of Resurrection Bay. Visitors to this “window on the sea” have close encounters with puffins, octopus, sea lions and other sealife while peeking over the shoulders of ocean scientists studying Alaska’s rich seas and diverse sealife.
We all enjoyed a behind-the-scenes tour. The center was started in response to the Exxon Valdez incident. Alaska discovered they did not have a base point to measure damage to the ecosystem and the wildlife that inhabited the area. So one of the objectives of the Center is to establish such a baseline and to measure what is happening to each as time goes on. This is difficult to read, but this is a list of the 2008 rescued wildlife currently residing at the Center.
We then went into the main area of the Center to see the rest of the Center. What a wonderful place this is. In particular since every creature we see here is being used for research and for the enjoyment of the viewing public. These are Wolf-Eels. They range from the Southern Bering Sea to Southern California. They are just wicked looking creatures that can get up to 8 feet in length.
This is a Tufted Puffin. It has been here for a number of years and really loves attention. However, we were warned not to get too close since the beak is very sharp.
We were told this was a very rare sight; it is a mother Kittiwake and the first chick born in captivity. Kittiwakes are only found on 5 of the Alaskan islands. One of the attractions was this pool where you could touch Urchins, Starfish, and Anemone.
It was still raining when we came out of the Alaskan Sealife Center.
These were two of the wild flowers that caught my eye in the planter shown above.
At 6:00 PM we boarded a sightseeing boat for a dinner cruise to view the wildlife and glaciers in Resurrection Bay.
Our first wildlife were two Sea Otters on the left and a Harbor Seal on the right.
Of course what would a Dinner Cruise be without dinner. It was delicious with all-you-can-eat prime rib and salmon.
Our next sighting was a Bald Eagle. You can barely see it in the photo at the left which is zoomed about 400 mm. The photo on the right is an enlargement.
We all imagined how beautiful this would be on a sunny day, however, there was a certain amount of mystique about the clouds and haze covering the area. There are cirque glaciers in the pictures above. Those are glaciers formed in bowl-shaped depressions on the side of mountains.
There were many small waterfalls along the route.
Each white spot on this rock represents a nesting seagull. The Sea Lions were resting comfortably along the shore as well.
This is Bear Glacier. It is over 18 miles long. When discovered in the late 1700's, the face of the glacier was located were we are taking the picture. These rugged humps are icebergs that broke off the front of the glacier. They are over 100 feet tall and are floating in a lake created by the retreating glacier.
During the cruise, our own Mackenzie became an official Junior Ranger. Way to go Mac!!!
Seward harbor as we returned at 10:30 PM.
Day 37 - Seward, AK
Wow, once again Larry, Loren and Charlie went fishing and caught 16 beautiful Silver Salmon!
Big fish fry tomorrow night!!
Gene is helping filet the fish as more onlookers gather to admire the catch.
Many of us chose to visit Exit Glacier today. We could see it after about a 7 mile drive from the main road. These were both taken at the same pullout prior to entering the park.
It had a small visitor's center which had information about the Glacier and about the trails up to the Glacier. Three times a day they have ranger walks up to the glacier, but we missed them so we walked up ourselves.
As you walk along the trail, there are signs identifying where the face of the glacier was located for that year. This one was marked 1917; so 91 years ago the face of the glacier was at this point. It is about 1 mile away now. We saw two adult Ptarmigans in the woods and when I took my picture a chick poked out from under the mother. Evidently she was protecting them from us humans.
As we approached the glacier, we could start to see the blue ice in the crevasses. I learned the ice appears blue because it absorbs the other colors of the spectrum, while the blue reflects back to us.
This is as close as we were allowed to approach the glacier. The walls are calving off and it is dangerous for anyone to approach it.
This is the view looking over the valley below the glacier.
However, not to be out done, Dave and Sharon Wilson took a cruise out of Whittier and their boat captain was able to get them up to two glaciers; the Blackstone and the Beloit Glaciers. They did not see them calve any icebergs, but they did see icebergs floating around the glaciers.
Days 38 - 40 in Homer, AK

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