Quest to the Pacific Northwest - Turnagain Arm, Alaska
August 1, 2014 - Day 4
Saturday, the Engineer and I flew from Seattle to Anchorage. We rented a car and drove around the Turnagain Arm, viewing the bore tide, the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, and returning to our B&B on the bay. The in-laws arrived Sat evening from NYC and stayed near the airport.
The flight from Seattle to Anchorage is 3 hours, so we planned our arrival for mid afternoon. [note from the Engineer] "I was greatly displeased with the lack of Emerald Aisle selection and got stuck with a crappy Chevy Malibu." [/end rant] We headed south of Anchorage to the Turnagain Arm, a body of water off of the Cook Inlet. We had checked the tide tables ahead of time and arrived at Beluga Point in time to catch the boor tide, which is when the tide comes in via one large wave. We positioned ourselves at the narrowing entry to the Inlet, but we never saw a big wave as advertised. The tide did grow several feet in a matter of minutes, which was still impressive, but nothing you could surf on which is what we were expecting.
Our vantage spot for the bore tide at Beluga Point
We also continue to see a lot of "dumb" as the Engineer calls it. On road signs, we constantly see signs not only telling you to buckle up and don't drink and drive, but they actually post the legal BAC! As we waited for the tide, you had to cross railroad tracks to get to the best vantage point. People were crossing about 200 ft in front of the moving train blowing its horn! With small kids! I know I tend to be more cautious than most, but that seems so stupid. Clearly Alaska is Darwinism at its best.
Watching the train run from Whittier back to Anchorage. Cars had glass domes for great viewing.
After watching the tide come in, stopped for barbeque nearby. The motto was "southern exposure to northern smoke" and they had great Carolina style BBQ. The Engineer and I both tried the Alaskan Brewing Co. specials on tap, which were served in mason jars! The BBQ came with sweet corn bread, served with cinnamon honey butter.
The Engineer relaxing at Turnagain Arm Pit BBQ
After a great dinner, we hopped back in the car and drove 30 minutes to the town of Portage where we visited the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. It's an outdoor nature preserve, with a 1.5 mile dirt road in the center for you to walk or drive by the enclosures. The animals are kept in natural habitats, and many are raised as herds with the intent to release back into the wild, including Wood Bison, Musk Ox, and Elk. Other animals were found severely injured, or abandoned as babies, so they are being raised here but cannot ever be released. We saw reindeer, moose, brown bears, a bald eagle, a fox, a lynx, and an owl. It was neat to see the animals up so close!
Summer camp for Santa's reindeer
We continued along the scenic drive and stopped by the Portage Glacier view point before heading back to our B&B. We stayed at the Turnagain View, which has 3 rooms and is situated on a cliff overlooking the water. Alaska is 4 hours behind East Coast time, but even at 1030 pm, the sky was still bright, so blackout curtains are a blessing as we turned in for the night.
View of Portage Glacier