There’s a curious kind of utilitarian theme to Alaska, and it’s evident in Anchorage. Even though since our first visit many years ago it continues to grow and become more modern, newer and for lack of a better term, more ‘lower 48ish’, there’s always the suggestion of how things are prettied up a little for the summer, but really made for when it gets dark and cold again. You see it in the architecture and in the way a lot of the cars and guardrails have battle scars. The frontier atmosphere is further enhanced by numerous instances of moose and grizzly bears in the city parks and on the bike trails.
Still Anchorage, ringed as it is by dramatic mountains, is stunning. There are more float planes on Lake Hood and Lake Spenard than anywhere else in the world. With that and Ted Stevens International and Elmendorf AFB and Merrill Field, there are planes everywhere you look. Cook Inlet rushes in and out like a sunami. Downtown bustles with craft breweries and pubs and restaurants and a big downtown mall. Farmers markets are constant entertainment.
We camp on Ship Creek next to the Alaska Railroad station and in the landing pattern for two airports. Noisy, but close to downtown.
Our visit is for family, and we spend our two weeks here eating out or watching baseball or local things like the markets and the excellent Anchorage museum. It’s a nice break from the road.
One of the prettiest drives in Alaska is from Anchorage along the Seward Highway to the historic gold town of Girdwood and the Ayleska ski resort. Near that is the wildlife conservation park with a rather complete collection of Alaska wildlife.
So here’s our route from the Ak Ferry to Homer Ak.