Alaska (Part 2) + Video! - The Surznick Common Room

Monday, November 13, 2017

Alaska (Part 2) + Video!


Okay, we've been back from Alaska for three months already and are just now getting around to sharing part 2 of our adventures. If you missed part 1, make sure to read it first! To catch you up, Nick and I visited Alaska to visit my best friend Bethany and her now-husband Scott for a long weekend. We're picking up right where we left off, so here we go!

Day 3



We woke up early on Saturday morning, excited for the biggest day of our trip thus far. Bethany and Scott had been dying to stay in the yurts in Shearwater Cove and we are beyond thrilled that we got to experience this with them!


Shearwater Cove is, well, a cove tucked into Resurrection Bay, about 10 miles from Seward. It literally looks like something out of a movie. It's only accessible by boat, so after waking up in our cabin we booked it down to the harbor to meet our hosts and hop in their water taxi to get us to the cove.


The boat ride itself was spectacular. In every direction you're surrounded by the most incredible tree-lined, rocky views. The water is the prettiest blue-green. We even saw an otter! In the trees off in the distance, our host pointed out the white heads of the bald eagle families that live there. Seriously - we could have stayed on that boat all day just absorbing the sheer beauty of it all.


Finally, we arrived in Shearwater Cove and checked out the yurt were calling home for a night. Nick and I have never stayed in a yurt before, but it was an awesome experience. It's like camping, but elevated. Our yurt had the comfiest bed ever, a futon, table and chairs, a stove, sink, etc. Outside of the yurt was our bathroom, which had a composting toilet and shower. It's cooler than it sounds. I give a little 'Cribs'-style tour of the yurt in our video below, so check that out if you want to see more.


After settling into the yurt and getting the lay of the land (and water) from our hosts, we hiked up the mountain trail for some incredible views. This was the toughest hike of the trip, so Nick and I held back about halfway up while Bethany and Scott went all the way to the very top. Regardless, the views in every direction were amazing.


It started to rain throughout the afternoon so we spent a few hours in the yurt cooking grilled cheese, playing Boggle, and skimming through the design books that were stocked for guests. In case you didn't know, Bethany and I both love Boggle and are both pretty great, so there was some stiff competition.


Once the rain cleared, we decided to hop in the kayaks and paddle our way around the bay to see the cove where a TON (I mean, a TON) of salmon go to lay their eggs at the base of this huge waterfall. This was insane and kind of disgusting, but awesome at the same time. I've never seen so many fish in my lifetime, or that closely. We were kayaking right through thousands of salmon, and practically stepping on them as we docked for photos. Salmon are pretty nasty up close - they have gross toothy mouths and so many of them were fighting to get upstream to breed, so they were biting chunks out of each other. It was crazy. In addition to the salmon, we also saw river otters walking up the mountains, lots of jellyfish, starfish along the rocks, and the goodest doggo named Annie.


We kayaked back to Shearwater Cove in the early evening and when we arrived at the dock, Nick and Scott decided they were going to jump in. The water was about 50 degrees and I'm not an insane person, so I happily stayed on the dock. It was a pretty epic way to end the day though. We cooked dinner together and hit the hay pretty early, ending what was our best day in Alaska yet. I'll let Nick take over for our final day...

Day 4
After an incredible, cozy night's sleep in our yurt, and some quick early morning coffee, we were back onto the boat headed toward Seward. The boat ride back was a lot more difficult than the boat ride out. We were headed straight into the north winds, and it made for a bit of a precarious (and extremely cold) journey. Nonetheless, we returned safe and sound (and hungry.) Time for breakfast.


We stopped by a little place right in Seward called Zudy's for a delicious hot breakfast and coffee before hitting the road out of town. Our next stop would be one of our last hikes/scenic experiences of the trip: Exit Glacier.


Of all the things we had experienced thus far on the trip, Exit Glacier was probably the most crowded and most touristy. The hike up to the glacier itself was fun, though pretty full of people, all doing what we were doing. Of course, the glacier itself was spectacular. It's so hard to get good photos of things that are so massive, capturing the scale of the scene is next to impossible, so a photo never does it justice. My favorite part of this place though was being able to walk out to the glacial river bed below the glacier itself. Here, we were able to hold glacier ice in our hands. Millions of years of history, melting away in our fingers. It was pretty wild.


Finally, we started the long ride back into Anchorage, with unforgettable views in every direction for the entire ride. If you ever find yourself in Anchorage, take the time to drive the scenic Seward Highway, it's so worth it.

Once back in Anchorage, we got it in our heads that we wanted to see a moose, so Scott dutifully sets off to the most likely stops and we spend a good hour or more driving around looking for some, but we come up short. With our last night in Alaska coming to an end, we didn't want to spend too much time in the car. We had a last meal to take care of, and one final view to take in.


After a quick stop back at Bethany and Scott's to freshen up and change for dinner, it was back into the city to hunt for a few gifts for family and friends at the Anchorage Market, and some incredible beer and food at 49th State Brewing. Unfortunately, now that 3 months have passed since this meal, I can't remember exactly what I had, but I do remember sharing this mac n' cheese with Sarah, and that it was fantastic, as was the beer.

Next, one last mountain was calling our name: Flat Top Mountain. This place affords the best views of the city and the bay. It was sort of our unspoken mission the entire trip to enjoy the best beers at the tops of the best mountains, so we stopped off to grab a couple of big beers to take with us up the mountain for a final toast to Alaska.

Flat Top Mountain was so gorgeous. It was the perfect way to say goodbye to Alaska. Again, scale is impossible to capture in a photo. There were mountains in the distance, identified by a plaque as volcanoes more than 130 miles away (::Gasp:: emoji). The beers on Flat Top Mountain were definitely the sweetest of trip, enjoyed in the most beautiful setting. We didn't take any photos on Flat Top, it was just for us to soak in and enjoy in the moment.

Back to Bethany and Scott's to pack up for the airport then BAM! A MOOSE. Got it. Saw one, (saw two actually) so now we can call the trip: complete.


We compiled Sarah's Instagram stories and other videos to put together this little video diary of our trip. It's a little long (10 ish minutes), but we hope you enjoy. Scott - The Lumineers accompaniment is for you.


Thank you again one million times to Bethany and Scott for being our gracious hosts and guides on this trip. We said it in our last post but we'll say it again - it was truly once in a lifetime and it wouldn't have been the same without them. Love you guys!

Sarah & Nick

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