I've been back from my Alaska adventure for about 48 hours now, and thought I'd post some pictures! Keep in mind that these were taken with my iPhone camera, which doesn't nearly do justice to this rugged, sensational, incredible landscape. Katie took some pictures on a much nicer camera, but since she's still gallivanting around AK and I'm too impatient, I'm posting what I've got!
I took this from the plane, as we flew from Seattle to Anchorage:
Here's our small plane from Anchorage to Kenai, where Katie has spent the summer working in the Public Defenders' office. Nothing compared to the tiny plane from Boston to Saranac Lake, but take note: I snapped this photo at 10pm, 30 minutes before the sun even set. The sky stayed light until 11pm or so.
Katie's room in Kenai (not furnished or decorated by her). The moose was encroaching on my space, and needed to be relocated.
Katie at the beach in Kenai
One of the several volcanoes visible from the beach. Again, my camera doesn't do it justice, but the vista was breathtaking -- long ranges of volcanoes and snowy peaks on the horizon in every direction.
We hiked a trail a little north of Kenai, which the trailhead marker accurately described as "very strenuous." Just 1.5 miles each way, but the 1800 feet of elevation gain had us huffing and puffing even though we both do distance running. It's been awhile since my legs were so sore for days afterward! But totally worth it for the amazing view.
Self-portraits on the iPhone are always so flattering... :)
After a few days in Kenai while Katie wrapped up her summer internship, we headed south to Homer. Katie promised amazing views and fantastic food.
Amazing views indeed -- this is the vista as you drive out onto the Homer Spit, a small strip of land that juts out into Kachemak Bay. This is the view across the bay to the southeast, and at the same time the mountains and volcanoes on the Alaskan mainland are visible if you look northwest (not visible in this photo, though -- what I wouldn't give for a panoramic shot).
Aforementioned volcanoes and mountains to the northwest. They're about 80-90 miles away. Mt. Redoubt is still active, and last erupted in 2009.
Couldn't help snapping this photo for my fiance and some of my future in-laws.
The view from where we camped on the beach in Homer. At 10:30pm. Still light.
Katie was correct, there is some amazing food in Homer. These are scallop-stuffed shrimp at Cafe Cups, where unfortunately we were only able to get appetizers because the kitchen shut down unexpectedly with a propane leak. They were incredible.
At the Mermaid Cafe, I had local Ling Cod with mushroom butter on Yukon Gold mashed potatoes. Omigosh.
Katie had bibimbap with lots of local seafood.
We did all sorts of other things in Homer, like sea kayaking. Katie snapped some photos of me in the back of the kayak, one of which I've snagged from her off of facebook. We saw sea otters (including a nursery where mothers gathered with babies), some seals, bald eagles, and a host of other birds.
After a few days in Homer, we headed north in Katie's trusty truck Techie to Anchorage
While in Anchorage, we stayed in a hotel/hostel facility where we had private rooms but a shared bathroom. It had...er...character. And a really entertaining motto.
Just a taste of the experience. This was displayed proudly next to the reception desk.
While wandering around downtown Anchorage, we came across an army folk band playing on the green. There we spied some adorable dogs and listened to a Mumford and Sons cover.
On Sunday night, I flew out of Anchorage, while Katie and her boyfriend Ben (who flew from New York to join us for the Anchorage part of our trip) headed north to Denali to continue the adventure. Here's a final look at the mountains:
It was a fantastic trip, and I can't thank Katie enough for being such a terrific host. I hope I'll get a chance to return someday and see more of the state, which is almost the size of Texas, California, and Montana combined, with a population just a bit larger than Vermont. This map is pretty striking:
Until then, adventures right here in Boston await me, including starting school on Sunday and beginning to plan a wedding!