A Day to Trip to Seward to Hike, Eat and Make Memories
With so much to do and see, Seward is a perfect destination to enjoy with friends and family
Story and Photos by Cecil Sanders of Last Frontier Magazine
When best friends come to town, there’s an underlying desire to try and relive the good ole days from when you were young. And for my best friend and I, even into our early 20s, sadly enough, we ran around at all hours of the night doing things that created memories of a lifetime. No, we weren’t spray painting anarchist symbols around town or burning stranded vehicles on the side of the road, but we were trying to drive old station wagons on powerline trails and shooting and eating porcupines during mid-winter hunting excursions. We were the ones riding double on a snowmachine, with one of us in a neckbrace (from recently falling off a roof) and the other trying to whip brodies on an icy parking lot (yes I know, a track doesn’t spin very good donuts). That adventure ended with us wrecking said machine and flying across the ice, but we were now underneath the machine and it was riding us. We were the ones accidentally and I must add, with no evil intentions, spraying a stream of mustard across a local restaurant and having an inebriated patron jump up using expletives we had only heard in Bruce Willis movies while threatening to beat us up. If we ever made any trouble, it was accidental and unplanned. Sometimes I look back and think, “How did we never end up in the hospital or courtroom?”
Jerome Lake along the Seward Highway
The small boat harbor Back in those days it didn’t matter when, where or how far, if we decided we wanted to do something, “Who cares if it is midnight, let's drive to Seward!” I am pretty sure we have matured a decent amount. Getting married, having kids, establishing careers and working long hours can take the wind out of your sails a bit. So a few days ago we jostled the idea of making a drive down to Seward. “Well, it’s quite a ways.” “I’m kind of tired, but, if you want to.” “Should we just get a hotel room so we don’t have to make the long drive back in the same day?”
A fisherman hauls gear to his boat down the docks in the small boat harbor We finally decided the night before to just get up and go. The next morning arrived and with our coffee, Bugles, sunflower seeds and candy bars in hand, we headed down to the Kenai Peninsula from the Mat-Su Valley. We were in no rush and made stops along the way enjoying the early morning sun casting warm light across the Turnagain Arm, Jerome Lake and the Kenai Mountains. We relived the earlier days a bit by telling a few adventure and misadventure stories. With all the chattering going on, the 3.5 hour trip to Seward was completed at a rather quick pace. As we drove into Seward the sun was still on its ascent and the only clouds in the sky covered Mt. Marathon and were smattered out toward Caens Head and Fox Island. We walked around town a bit and enjoyed the marine animals at the Sea Life Center. The atmosphere around town was friendly—everything was abuzz with tourists as a ship was in port.
A sea lion swims by at the Sea Life Center
A puffin at the Sea Life Center Hunger pangs started cropping up, so we grabbed a couple tasty burgers at the Chattermark. Satiated and ready for the ‘adventure of the day’ we made our way to the Mt. Marathon trailhead. Now I have to say, my friend likes to hike Mt. Marathon. I hiked it a few years ago and it went into my been there, done that file. Combine that attitude with my work schedule that has not allowed me to do much hiking this year, and things weren’t looking too good for me. We started up the trail. The views of Seward and Resurrection Bay were fantastic as usual. I would use the word breathtaking to describe the scenery, but the first quarter mile had already vanquished it from my lungs.
A view of Seward from Mt. Marathon With the clouds not clearing at the top and my overwhelming desire to lose my Chattermark burger along the trail, we turned around at about the halfway mark and ran down the scree shoot. My friend, I am pretty sure, could have ran up and down twice in that same period I took waddling up halfway.
We ended our hike scaling down the rock face at the bottom, returning to our vehicle and driving down to the small boat harbor to enjoy a bit more of the town. From there we drove to a few of the places he used to live at while growing up in Seward, and then we started our drive back to the Mat-Su Valley. Age hasn’t really slowed us down because, to be honest, I always complained on ‘his hikes.’ But maybe age has helped better squash those wild hairs that say, ‘Let’s go do something dumb!’ When best friends come to town, go make some new memories.
If you enjoyed this article, check out "A Day of Fun Halibut Fishing in Seward, Alaska!"