Alaska 2014 - Part I

Monday, July 28, 2014

The last time I wrote, we were prepping for our trip to Alaska. Now I'm super sad because it's OVER. It was one of the most fun trips, and now we all want to live there. So without further ado...our trip to Alaska!

We left Atlanta on Saturday, July 12 and arrived in Anchorage 5pm local time (5 hour flight to Seattle followed by a 3.5 hour flight to Anchorage). Katie and Jeff arrived about 20 minutes after us, so we waited for them at their gate so we could be the first to officially welcome Jeff to his 50th state. Yes, we got to witness history - as of July 12, 2014 Jeff Duncan has been to all 50 states. Amazing!

After cabbing to the hotel, we decided to go explore Anchorage. Jeff heard from a friend (of course!) about a little pub called F Street Station, so we headed there for dinner. Hungry before your food gets there? No need to fret - there's a huge slab of cheddar cheese on the bar!

Our next stop was the Gaslight Lounge where Katie and I decided to partake in a little bull riding. These pictures don't even do it justice - Jeff has the full videos. The man in charge of the bull clearly has some anger issues he needs to work out.

On our way back to the hotel, we decided to stop at Hotel Captain Cook because we saw some sort of top floor restaurant/bar. Turns out the Crows Nest is kind of fancy pants and we were kicked out because we looked so rough. We all just about died though - the hostess told Adam he could wear their "loaner pants" if we really wanted to stay. Hilarious!

At this point it was 9:45pm and still as sunny as can be (something I still find fascinating). It's seriously light out all day during the summer. The darkest hours are 2-4am, but even then it's not that dark.

We had the next morning/early afternoon to continue to explore Anchorage before our flight left for Cordova, so we headed over to Humpy's Alehouse to watch the World Cup Final. (Highly recommend the fish and chips!).

And then it was time to depart for our 40 minute flight to Cordova. (Hi, Katie and Jeff!)

When we landed, I kept looking around for the airport. Turns out this is it. The entire airport is smaller than our house - which is small, people.

I always think it's so fun when you get to exit a plane on the tarmac. The little things!

"Baggage claim" was just this open area where one guy (probably the pilot) just threw all the bags.

And in case you (for some strange reason) fly into Cordova without transportation, you can rent a 1994 Explorer or creepy white van from Cordova Auto Rentals! Not sure how prosperous an Enterprise would be here.

Michael picked us up, and after a quick drive we made it to the Hafertepes! Jeff and I's cousin, Michael, is stationed in Cordova with the Coast Guard - which was the whole point of the trip. His wife Maggie is so awesome, and we were so excited to have the opportunity to spend some time with them in such an awesome place! How cute is their house?

After getting settled in the house, we headed for a tour around Cordova (lasted a whole 10 minutes) before heading to dinner at the Reluctant Fisherman. This meal really set the tone for the whole trip - all of the food was amazing! We grabbed a drink on their patio after dinner and got to listen to a really cool group of people that were some sort of band (including a cello/bass thing!).

Tractor party! It was 10:30pm when this was taken, by the way.

On Monday, the weather was perfect and Michael & Maggie planned for us to go on a hike. I was prepared for this to be an active vacation, but this 6 hour/9.5 mile hike was a little more than I expected!  We still had a great time and got to witness some incredible views.

The top of Ski Hill. Silly me, I thought we were almost done. This was mile 1 of 9.5.

The gang's all here!

Ski hill by winter, hiking trail by summer.

We came over a hill and saw a man with a briefcase get into this helicopter and fly away. I'm 99% sure it was James Bond. And then we waved goodbye. Like idiots.

Cartwheels! Why not?

 A hiking we will go...

 ... a hiking we will go.

 Michael and Maggie... and the treacherous rope bridge.

Our navigators.

 We finally made it to Crater Lake!

Bear cub print.

The views were so worth it.

Katie and I finishing strong! So happy to feel pavement! (Also, it was in the mid 60s and there were kids swimming in the lake across the street. Guess that's Alaska for you!)

Showers for everyone, then it was time for dinner. Michael is an amazing cook, and all of our meals at their house consisted of fresh fish he caught.

To ensure we had meals the rest of the week, Michael gave the guys a quick fly fishing tutorial.

Well, this post is much longer than I anticipated already! Guess we're going to break this trip into a few. Part II coming soon!

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