We got up early on Friday, went to Safeway for the essential caffeinated beverages, and headed over to the other side of the Kenai Peninsula. We drove through Soldotna, which was a fairly large town for the area, and headed up to see Kenai. It was very run-down, but the buildings were amazing. I loved the Russian Orthodox churches, and the shoreline.
russian orthodox church in kenai
We went back to wander around Soldotna for a while. The visitor’s center was really cute, and we learned all about salmon fishing. We shopped at the little mall, then went to Charlotte’s Cafe for lunch. They only had 4 things on the menu, and all of them looked amazing. I loved our server a lot. Come to think of it, everyone in Alaska was ridiculously friendly.
We drove back toward Seward, stopping a hundred times along the way to take photos. The tiny town of Cooper Landing was my favorite. We then headed up the road toward Exit Glacier, another portion of Kenai Fjords National Park.
the road to exit glacier
This time, instead of taking a boat to see a glacier, we could actually walk up to it. If you get there early enough in the day, you can take an hours-long ranger-led hike onto the glacier and ice fields themselves. We had decided to save the crampons til next time; we wanted to see as many things as possible.
We hiked up to the overlook, then down to the river below. We were well-acquainted with glacial geology by then, because we’re nerds. For once, it was actually warm outside!
sign marking the glacier’s location in 1926. it’s at least half a mile from there now.
We did a lot of hiking in the river valley, spent some time at the visitors’ center, then headed back into Seward around dinnertime.
We had dinner at Yoly’s Bistro, then went to stock up on souvenirs at the many, many shops downtown. Laden with bags, we ended up at the ice cream shop. I got a coffee there, and yet somehow still managed to crash around 10:30, to the sound of a cruise ship pulling out of the harbor.