10 years ago, my Dad and Step-Mom took my brothers and I on a trip to Alaska over the summer solstice. We rented a house in Seward for a week, explored Kenai Fjords, hiked up Mt. Marathon, and soaked in the Alaskan beauty. Fast forward 10 years, and my Dad and Step-Mom now live in Anchorage.
Day 1: SLC -> Anchorage -> Ptarmigan
Straight from the plane, we jumped onto my Dad’s rig, Ned, and headed South to Ptarmigan Campground. Arriving late, we went straight to bed, knowing it was going to be an early morning.
Day 2: Ptarmigan -> Seward
5:30 AM wake-up call - we were headed to Seward to Kayak in Kenai Fjords!
We used the tour company Liquid Adventures. They’re focused on the small group experience and is the only company that has a private boat to take you into the Fjords. Unlike many other companies in the area, you will truly be guided by professionals, who have over 3 years of experience, minimum. They also work with a private water taxi, to make sure your trip through the rough waters between Resurrection Bay and the Northwestern Channel is as smooth and safe as possible.
We chose the Aialik/Northwestern Explorer trip. After a two-hour boat trip, we unloaded the kayaks and began paddling towards Northwestern Glacier. After paddling four miles amongst glacial ice chunks, we stopped roughly ½ mile away from the Northwestern Glacier and enjoyed our picnic lunch. Hearing ice chunks break off sounded like thunder every time a new chunk would crack off.
Here is the map of our whole paddle.
Day 3: Mt. Marathon -> Hatcher Pass
Mt. Marathon race is an iconic Seward trail race, and well-known in the niche trail running world. This gnarly race, takes you up the face of Mount Marathon, averaging a slope of 34 degrees. After a small warm up to the base of the mountain, racers gain roughly 2700 feet in .9 miles. This often slippery, steep slope requires shoes with good grip, gloves, and a tough runner.
My brother and I decided we wanted to see what it was all about, and made a go at it. The day we ran was a bit muddier than we were hoping for, and took us about an hour longer than we were planning. Note that there are no course markings, so checking your map every .1 miles is inevitable to make sure you’re on track. Our whole run can be seen here.
After Mt. Marathon, we decided to head north towards Palmer and Hatcher Pass. On our way north we stopped at Alyeska Ski resort, as well as our favorite, Moose’s Tooth pizza. We found an awesome spot to camp right at the Gold Mint Trailhead parking lot, that would be the perfect starting point for my birthday run the following morning.
Day 4: Hatcher Pass – Birthday!
It’s becoming a tradition to do a long run on my birthday, and that’s just how we started the day along the beautiful Gold Mint trail.
Following our running and hiking, we continued north along Hatcher Pass Road, to check out the Independence Mine State Historical Park and Hatcher Pass Lodge. My Dad whipped up a delicious birthday brunch of Veggie and Tofu Chilequiles from Thug Kitchen.
Day 5: Anchorage -> SLC
After some plant-based ice cream birthday celebrations the night before, it was time to pack up and head back to SLC. If you’re in Anchorage and want to spend a few last minutes soaking up the beauty before heading to the airport, I’d recommend going for a walk along the Coastal Trail.