Alaska! (Parts 6-9, Seward and the Train Ride Back)

Yes, yes. I know it’s been months since my last Alaska entry. But I have a good excuse, I swear! See, I’m a pretty messy housekeeper, but I’d never let guests see that. So when some friends of our were coming over, I stuffed everything in boxes and shoved them in a closet, including my trip diary. So see? How can I write without my diary?!?

Okay, yeah. Poor excuse 🙂 But I am finishing it!

So the last post left off with a rainy day and a meal that smelled like drool. We slept, and woke up to a cloudy morning. At least it wasn’t raining! In an effort to bribe Spencer out of bed, I told him that we’d go out for breakfast and make a stop by the Sea Bean. Nothing gets my husband out of bed faster than the promise of good coffee!

We spent a few hours at the coffee shop charging phones, sipping coffee, and figuring out what to buy for friends and family. We bought a few items in the shops on 4th Avenue, and then took the shuttle into town for the rest of our gifts. There we bought a cribbage board for Spencer and an ulu for my Grandpa Bob.


Grandpa used to work on barges, and his work would sometimes take him up to Alaska. He told us of an old woman and her daughter who were cutting and drying salmon using an ulu. The older woman was apparently very skilled. She could work quickly and score the red flesh of the salmon right down to the skin without breaking through skin. I love hearing this story, and I thought that getting Grandpa his own ulu would be quite nice. My only disappointment was that I had to work to find an ulu that was actually made in Alaska versus being made in China or Russia.

Spencer taught TJ how to play cribbage, and that became the game of choice for the rest of the trip. We stayed up well past midnight one night, smoking cigars and stoking a large fire. We didn’t realize how late it was because of the sun, and we didn’t even feel tired.


When I woke up the next morning (day seven), I saw that the skies had cleared and that the water in the bay looked as smooth as glass. This was a great sign, as we were getting ready to take a boat tour of Resurrection Bay with Kenai Fjords Tours. We soon found ourselves aboard the Nunatak, heading out to a feast on Fox Island – which I promptly threw up over the side of the ship. So much for that clear, glassy water! The views were worth the mild seasickness, though. I’d totally recommend that trip!

Best prime rib and salmon dinner we've ever had!

Best prime rib and salmon dinner we’ve ever had!


Big ole boy climbing up on the rocks.

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After the tour, we walked to the Moby Dick Hostel where we spent the night. The room (the Larger Lodging room) was great and very clean, although it could have used some blackout curtains. The sun was a bit harsh, and the bed was right under the window. All-in-all, I’d totally recommend it.


Small kitchenette, complete with dishes, cooking supplies, and a coffee maker.


Internet? Of course. Can’t keep ’em away from their phones…

On our final morning, we checked out of the hostel and walked back to the campgrounds. We had so much time to kill. I made my last bag meal of chicken and dumplings (which TJ fondly called ‘Chicken and Dumps’). Afterwards we went to a small sweets shop and had gelato (which TJ didn’t like!). I bought a pound of saltwater taffy for the train ride, and we hung out at the Sea Bean again to play cards and drink coffee.

Best way to cook for camping. Freezer bag meals are the way to go!

Best way to cook for camping. Freezer bag meals are the way to go! And our GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Dualist cook set worked like a charm! It’s definitely one of our best outdoor purchases. 

Happy Seattleites in our coffee shop :)

Happy Seattleites in our coffee shop 🙂

The train ride back was amazing. I spent the entire time out on the platform taking pictures and videos of our journey, while the guys played cribbage and watched out the window. TJ spotted a huge bear crossing the tracks.

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When we arrived at the Anchorage Airport, we took all of our knives and other non-carryon camping equipment and put them in our checked baggage. We’re in line for security, and thankfully managed to get in before a huge line of people. As we’re walking through we see a sign that says “Ulus will not be allowed through the security checkpoint.” I laugh, thinking “who’s dumb enough to bring an ulu through?” But then I pause – I don’t remember putting the ulu in the checked bag. Maybe Spencer did? I ask him, and sure enough his eyes get wide and he whispers, “No! I think it’s still in my backpack in the bear canister!” Well, shoot. So he excuses himself, talks to one of the TSA agents and leaves the line to mail the ulu to my grandpa. By this point the line is enormous, so we expect to wait at least 40 minutes before we see him. Thankfully, TSA has some sort of thing where if you self-disclose your mistake and go to fix it, you can be brought right back to the front of the line. Cool!

After that, it was an uneventful flight to Seattle. Our Alaskan adventure was over.

One thought on “Alaska! (Parts 6-9, Seward and the Train Ride Back)

  1. Pingback: End of the Year Goal Dash | To Stand Alone

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