Posts Tagged ‘Kincaid Park’

Day 72: Ok, meet you in…Anchorage?

August 10, 2010 10 comments

Location: Anchorage, AK

Miles Driven: 160

Total Miles: 17,428

After a chilly night in the car (thankfully, I have two blankets), I was on the road around 6AM continuing the drive south towards Anchorage.  I had plans to meet up with a buddy from back East, Matt, who coincidentally was in Alaska the same time I was.  Last I saw Matt he told me about tentative trip plans, then sure enough he ended up flying here on the 5th.  If he was a weekend earlier, as originally planned, I would’ve been too far away yet, but the timing worked out well and I got to see a familiar face all the way in the capital of Alaska.

Matt and me hanging out in Kincaid Park

Pretty crazy how the timing works out, right?

But before I saw Matt, I had to make the drive down to Anchorage, and I had a little over two hours ahead of me from where I crashed the night before.  The drive wasn’t bad…saw a bit of rain along the way, but near Wasilla (home of Sarah Palin) the skies started to clear up a bit.

could you imagine living near this?

By 9AM I had arrived in Anchorage, and met Matt at his friend Rachel’s hotel.  Great to see a familiar face this far away from familiarity.  Not long after, Matt and I headed out towards the downtown Anchorage area to explore a bit.

the view from downtown

A friendly Anchorage bear

Matt and I had a good lunch with Rachel (mmm, peanut butter and jelly gourmet sandwiches on bagels), and then the two of us headed over to Kincaid Park, where recently he and Rachel had seen a moose.

While walking through the park, I had been asking Matt about the moose encounter and innocently asked him “Do you know if there are bears here, too?”  He thought there might be, but wasn’t positive.  We found out the answer to that question a few minutes later when we saw something coming around the corner.

My first instinct was “Oh, a little dog is coming this way.”  I was wrong.

Considering the bear was slowly making his way in our direction, I put the camera down and we slowly backed up a bit.  Or I did, as Matt had already got the hell out of dodge.  I looked to my right and he was gone.  I’ve never witnessed such speed in a human.

I managed to back up a ways and then the bear jumped off into the brush on the left.  The bear never charged, or even got with 20 feet or so, so I didn’t have to employ any of the bear avoidance tips I learned from the rangers at Denali.  But whew, that was a fairly close encounter.

Matt and I chose to take another path in the park.  And this time we got some nice views of the water and the mountains in the distance.

lots of soccer fields at this park

We were also near the airport, so we got to see a lot of jets taking off.

After an exciting afternoon full of bear encounters (1 real, 1 fake), we made our way back to the hotel and eventually joined Rachel, her friend Claire, and Claire’s sister Carolyn for some dinner.  We hit up a hole-in-the-wall called Tommy’s Burger Stop, billed as the “best burgers in Anchorage.”  It lived up to the billing.

Great burger. Jalapenos on a burger = brilliance

Matt had to go back to Georgia, so we took him to the airport and said our goodbyes.  What a great addition to the trip, getting to see a good friend this far away from both our homes.

Rachel kindly offered me her couch to crash on at the hotel, and I was spoiled for yet another night.  On Tuesday, I’ll try to fix that last elusive headlight, and then maybe get out and do some hiking.  Come Wednesday, I’ll head down the famous Seward Highway down the Kenai Peninsula.