Resurrection Bay, Alaska
Cabin bound By The Shores Of Resurrection Bay. Wintry Alaska At Its Best
By the shores of Resurrection Bay, Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. March 15, 2013
I’ve spent the last three nights – with tonight being the fourth – in a lakeside cabin on the shores of a wintery & breathtakingly beautiful Resurrection Bay on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. A cabin in Alaska. A cliché? You betcha!, as that great Alaskan Sarah Palin has been known to utter.
Alaska || Sheer Natural Beauty
It goes without saying that for sheer natural beauty Alaska is one of the ultimate travel destinations. Over the past four days I’ve often found myself wondering if the 700,000 Alaskans that populate this vast, remote state, the biggest but least populated of the 50 U.S. states, take for granted all of this encompassing jaw-dropping beauty – these rugged mountains, glaciers & lakes. I’d imagine that one might do after a while and that just strikes me as nothing short of a travesty.
I’ve taken quite a few pictures already. Of course I have. Mostly of the water & mountains surrounding me. They are everywhere & there’s no escaping them, not until such time as the clouds roll in and envelop them. That has happened more than once over the last few days and what a glorious sight it has been from behind the glass of a cozy lakeside cabin.
But when they – the water & surrounding peaks – are visible then they put on quite the show.
Needless to say it’s quiet & isolated here, but not that quiet & not living-off-the-land isolated either. I’ve spent my time sitting in the cabin rocking chairs looking out the window trying to spot sea lions or seals in the bay, the waters of which feel like they are right on top of me at high tide.
I’ve made a few trips away from the confines of the cabin, sliding around the on the snow-covered gravel roads – aside from the main roads not too many roads in Alaska seem to be paved. The supermarket in Seward, a town some 3 miles away along the edge of Resurrection Bay, has seen me a few times, although not yesterday when it was snowing such that I was quite happy to stay put (& warm) in the cabin. There have been a few cozy cabin days.
Alaska || Seward’s Folly
For years Alaska was viewed as a frozen wasteland, barren and unworthy of attention. So much so that when being famously purchased from the Russians for $7.2 million back in 1867 by then Secretary of State William H. Seward, from whom Seward gets its name, the state was nicknamed “Seward’s Folly”. But all that changed when Alaska’s mineral wealth came to light – Alaska, as inhospitable, vast & remote as it was, became one of the country’s most valuable assets in terms of minerals, especially oil & gold. Gold was first discovered in Alaska’s interior in 1886 & by the mid-20th century the state began to transform from simple wasteland into vast natural resource mine with Seward leading the way – miners blazed trails from here to gold fields in central & western Alaska using a system of pack and sled trails, wagon roads & railroad beds, eventually becoming the famous 1,000-mile-plus Iditarod Trail, a.k.a. the Seward-to-Nome Trail.
I’ve tried to use the downtime to get some stuff done but of course with seemingly all the time in the world the to-do list just grows longer. One distraction was following the story of the 2013 Iditarod, the 1000-mile dog sledge race that is the most popular annual sporting event in Alaska. Yep. Not the NFL. Not the NBA. Not even the ice-heavy NHL. Nope. Dogsledding gets Alaskan pulses racing. The Iditarod ended on the day I arrived with none other than local musher (a person who drives, or travels with, a dog team) Mitch Seavey winning it for the second time. That’s big news in these quarters & I like the appropriateness of me being here at the same time.
— davidMbyrne.com (@ByrneDavidM) March 14, 2013
I’ve also looked at a few Alaskan wildlife DVDs, the entertainment options provided by the cabin. The DVDs on the bears – the grizzly, brown & black bears – were the best. Amazing creatures. This is bear country you see & were it summer then I’d definitely have made an effort to do a bit of bear spotting – organised bear spotting, a sort of Alaskan safari. But it’s not summer. It’s winter of course which means the bears are sleeping. A lot of Alaska sleeps this time of year – all the pleasure craft are moored in Seward harbour waiting out the cold; most of the tourist-orientated restaurants in the town have posted ‘Closed for the Season’ signs; all the hiking trails in the surrounding hills are off-limits; & the nearby Kenai Fjords National Park is closed with no access, except via dog sledge or snowmobile, to its famous Exit Glacier. But all of that is OK. Winter or no the scenery is still here. It’s everywhere. And that, really, is all that matters.
The Founding Of Seward
In August of 1903, the steamer Santa Ana arrived in Resurrection Bay and Seward was founded by the Alaska Central Railway Company as the ocean terminus of the proposed rail road to the Alaskan interior. The chief founder of the city, a guy by the name of John Ballaine, described the ship’s entry into Resurrection Bay on a clam, clear day.
Alaska || To Plan
Alaska isn’t the kind of place one visits on a whim, especially this time of year. I’d done my pre-arrival homework so I knew it would be mostly closed for the season. That was fine with me – given a choice I’m an out of season kind of traveller – so I had plans of doing absolutely nothing for my 4 days & nights here in a cabin on the shores of Resurrection Bay. It was going to be, and was, a time to recoup after the stresses of 2 weeks in Hawaii (yes, I did just type that). And as it turned out everything about my time in a cabin on the shores of Resurrection Bay worked out exactly as planned, which is to say I had nothing planned for it at all.
— davidMbyrne.com (@ByrneDavidM) March 15, 2013
Doing nothing in Seward ends tomorrow when I’ll slide the snow off my hire car, de-ice its windscreen & drive, via first the Seward Highway & then the Stirling Highway, to Homer, another Kenai Peninsula town. Two nights I’ll spend there but not in a cabin unfortunately. I’ve no plans for Homer either. It’ll be more of the same, just in a different Kenai Peninsula location.