We started the day in Fairbanks eager to continue our way, this time south, to feel more close to Florida. But we couldn’t just start the way back in a hurry without making stops in so many interesting points we found on the way. The first stop was Anchorage, a big city I preferred to avoid (as always), but Sergio told us that he had a friend that live there and wanted to meet us. We got together with Valeria Rojas and her fiancé Alan Hartley, who invited us to their home to have some beers and explained us how a Colombian ended up living in Alaska… she decided to continue her studies in this part of the world and on top of that, she drove her car alone all the way from Miami!!! Something amazing, considering that many men won’t even dare get out of the state… lol.
After a very nice chat, we continue our way to Girdwood to spent the night on a campground at the base of the ever White mountains. This time we couldn’t enjoy a barbecue because the mosquitoes forced us to get into our tents…It is amazing the size and the amount of these insects, and their ability to bite you on the that tiny part of your body you left uncovered.
In the morning, after pickup the camping, we set off to Seward. Since it was 4 of July Weekend (USA Independence Day), we found the town full of tourists. We were told that people come from all over Alaska to watch the fireworks and celebrate Four of July here.
It was difficult to find were to camp finally we found space on the Elementary School’s baseball field. It had been adapted as camping spot due to the amount of tourists, obviously charging a higher fee that any campground will all the facilities. We didn’t have any other choice, and we even had to stand in line to use the bathrooms and showers where water wouldn’t come out if you didn’t inset the respective coins.
We loved the dock, the color of the water, the boats, the fish cleaning facilities and being able to watch just a few meters from how a seadog devoured salmon. These are the small things that we should appreciate since they brighten up the soul.
We obviously bought some of the local salmon and put it on our refrigerator to eat it later. We also had the opportunity to see the Halibut (Lenguado), very popular in these waters.
The next day we had one of the best experiences of the expedition, we took an helicopter flight to a near glacier. The views were impressive, the mountains, snow, sea, ice and the city make a incredible color combination that exhilarates you wanting to share with everybody these views and makes you wonder how some people prefer to fly to a resort and stay at the pool instead with only concrete around them.
Once in the glacier, the helicopter went away leaving us in this white and silent immensity only interrupted by the sound of the wind and the playful barking of the dogs. In this place you can find touristic sled rides, sadly our budget didn’t let us enjoy a exhilarating ride pulled by these faithful animals. Their trainers explained us how strong and resistant they were. They are able to pull a full load sled during 90 miles each day, and they can do it 10 days in a row!! Amazing, especially with the adverse weather in the region.
After some hours, we started to anxiously wait for the helicopter since we could see a storm brewing nearby and only thinking about spending the night here would make even the bravest expeditionary a little anxious. Fortunately the helicopter came back for us and we went back to the airport, this time by another route, even more beautiful than the first.
Back in the campground, we waited until mid”night” to go to the beach and admire the 4th of July fireworks. The beach was full of people gathered around bonfires watching the sky waiting for the fireworks celebrating the important event. But sincerely, after the show I asked myself, having these people ever been to Orlando? Maybe it is due to the economic crisis, but I was surprised to see the ovation of the people for such mediocre show. Only some explosions and lights and that was it. They pick up everything and went to sleep, very different to we Latinos called “celebration”. But we respect other cultures and styles.
We left town the next day, with a short stop at Knai Fjords NP. This time I stayed in the car resting, while Yoyo and Sergio walked near the glacier. Obviously, after exploring one in a helicopter, walking to see a smaller glacier didn’t excite me much.
Next stop: Whittier, to try to get the ferry to Seattle.