We had a full day in Anchorage without a car, following
is what we did. Maybe this will give an idea...
Our first adventure of the day was to rent a tandem bike and ride on the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. The trail starts downtown and runs about 10-11 miles along the water. It was 8:30 AM and only a few others were on the trail. The scenery was beautiful. Across the water were snow-capped mountains as far as the eye could see. We rode for a few miles, stopping every now and again just to take it all in. On about mile six, a few other cyclists were heading back. As they passed us, they said, “moose ahead”. At that point, we wanted to see the moose. As it turned out, it was really a good thing that we were warned that there was wildlife ahead. It was a mother moose and its baby. They were around a bend and if we were not being cautious, we would have gone around the corner and headed right for the moose. I don’t’ really know, but I suspect that would not have been a good thing. :-) We backed the bike up a bit, got my camera, put on the telephoto lens, took my helmet off and quietly approached the moose and click, click, click. I’m not sure how many shots I took, but it was fun.
Since the moose was on the trail and we were getting a bit tired, we decided that was as far as we would ride out on the Tony Knowles. It was time to head back to the bicycle shop. All in all I guess me went 12 – 13 miles. The truth is that neither of us could remember the last time we rode that far. It was fun.
Next we just started trekking through downtown Anchorage. As we walked from place to place, we noticed flowers everywhere. Hanging baskets with the state flower Forget-me-not were on many of the streets. Also, many of the local shops, businesses and restaurants had flowerbeds with a wide assortment of colorful flowers. We found a place for lunch (appetites quite large by this time). Walked around a bit more and headed back to the hotel for a break.
Later that afternoon we decided on a one-hour trolley tour around town. It was quite reasonable at $10 per person. Our guide was named Caleb. He was born and raised in the Anchorage area and was somewhat of a comic. He told us that he was born in a barn. Which meant that he could say yes to that infamous question. Some of the information he gave us regarding the Anchorage area was:
- average house sale price last year was $201,000
- last winter the coldest it got was eight degrees (F) above zero
- when it gets too cold there, they just go to South Alaska, a.k.a. Maui
- the Alaska state bird – the mosquito :-)
- largest rutabaga grown – 53 pounds (19 hours of sunlight per day in summer)
- strongest ever recorded earthquake, 9.2 on the Richter scale, 3/27/1964
More exploring Anchorage after the tour. Also got in a little shopping in and it was dinnertime. We decided to have dinner at the Alaska Salmon Chowder House. I had the salmon and it was very good.
Definitely the IMAX -- both the Spirit of the Wild and the Aurora show were great. If you're there early enough, the BLM Visitor Center has great free video presentations. The Alaska Mint is fun. Lots of shopping if you are into shopping. Dinner at Orso, or the Glacier Brewery -- Humpy's has good food as well, but quite noisy. I too would recommend Moose a la Mode for an end of the evening dessert stop .. chocolate walnut ice cream was great. Resolution Park, has great views of the Inlet. The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail is a good place to walk and enjoy some views as well -- but make sure you take your medication if you have allergies. Have a great time -- we loved our Alaska adventure, and hope to go back again.