Old Seward Highway
Alaska, a place so familiar yet so new. A place I can call home. A long lost friend; a distant stranger. After university I decided to return back to Alaska to organize my finances before I headed off onto an exploration that would change my life. Within a week I had found a job as a bartender at The Hilton Anchorage. During my time of employment, I met people who would help me make Alaska a great experience for me.
He looked at me with his dark brown eyes in a way that saw into my soul, “Alright, I’m going to pick you up at 7 am, be ready.” Unaware of where he was going to take me, I agreed on the spontaneity. I needed someone to show me around Anchorage in a way I’ve never experienced it. Without hesitation I said, “Okay.” After all, I needed a friend.
Ten to seven and I got a call to come outside. With comfort in his eyes, they ignited as I opened the car door. “Before we start, we’re going to get breakfast.” I sat there and I admired his authority to decide for me. For once I didn’t have to think for myself, all I had to do was enjoy the day ahead of me. We drove into the city and stopped at an endearing cafe filled with locals who regularly dined there. Little did he know that the Southside Restaurant and Grill would become one of my favorite breakfast spots.
After a cheerful chat, a hot cup of coffee, and a delicious breakfast he nudged me to come along. Once again we were in the car and started driving onto the Old Seward Highway. Unacquainted of what to expect, I became surprised by the scenery. I remember coming to Anchorage as a little girl, but I did not remember it like this. It was magic.
I was welcomed by the snow covered trees burrowing into the mountains that resided within the Chugach National Forest. As I turned my head to the right I caught glimpses of rail road tracks hidden in the snow; perfectly placed along the Turnagain Arm. Spring shyly around the corner thawing the waters; life quietly peeking at what’s about to come. As the sun rose, it gleamed against the ice caps. It touched the unbroken tide so Alaska’s bare beauty could reflect strikingly. Clean, scarcely touched, a natural bliss preserved by the people who lived here.
The further away from the city we got I started to notice water flowing from the cliffs we drove against. “Wait, stop! Pull over.” People stood on the side of the road holding empty plastic bottles soon to be filled by the melted glacier running down the side of mountain. I ran across the street, cupped my hands together, and caught some water. As I drank, it hit my lips with an icy hello. The wholesomeness of it filled my mouth with a sweetness I’ve never experienced. I closed my eyes and took a breath of the crisp air. A smile upon my face I whispered, “this is home.”
Things to do along this drive:
- Stop at the look out points to catch a good view of the sunset with the national park in the horizon.
- Check out the old abandoned train.
- See some Alaskan wildlife at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center.
- Go to Alyeska Resort to enjoy the slopes or enjoy a cocktail to stay warm. Also dine at the Seven Glaciers Restaurant.
- Stop in Girdwood.
- Portage Glacier
- Drive through to Whittier.
- Dine at the Double Musky and order the pepper steak.