Spring Break!

It’s spring break season for students of all ages—from little preschoolers to non-trad college students.  For many, this means trips to warm southern climes:  Mexico, Florida, Arizona, Hawaii, bikinis, tropical cocktails, suntans and sandy scalps.  For others, it might be a good time to pick up extra shifts at work and make some spending money.  Then, there are the folks who don’t have a designated spring break, because they work 9-5 jobs.  We are a little bit of all of these.  Evan works a “real” job, but his “weekend” is Tuesday and Wednesday.  He’s also a student who happens to be on spring break.  I have been nannying for a family who is also on spring break this week, so I have the week off.  It turns out, Evan and I had our first two days off together since mid-January.  We decided to celebrate with a spring break trip!

Spring Break, Alaska Style.  Ava doesn't look impressed!

Spring Break, Alaska Style. Ava doesn’t look impressed!

Since we are in Alaska, we could have picked nearly any destination and ended up south of home, and that’s exactly what we did.  However, we didn’t pack any swimsuits (in fact, I brought my cozy flannel-lined Carhartts…a perfect Farmgirl gift!). We just got back from a quick trip south to Seward, Alaska.  Seward is a lovely fishing town that sits on a magnificently picturesque bay surrounded by huge snow-covered peaks.  The permanent population of about 3,000 grows immensely in the summer with waves of tourists.  Because of this, much of the town shuts down during the winter months.  However, some of the best places stay open—the Alaska SeaLife Center, a few restaurants, a few hotels and B&Bs, and-of course-the outdoor recreation opportunities.

Breathtakingly beautiful!  View from Lowell's beach.

Breathtakingly beautiful! View from Lowell beach.

We mainly went to visit our friends Eric and Christine who are in the thick of majorly loving their first son—an adorable, tiny, squishy one-month-old who will likely grow up to be a laid back, highly intelligent sailor like his very cool parents!  Oh, the baby fever that takes over while snuggling a newborn…

Sweet little baby.

Sweet little baby.

It is so nice to have or make connections in places that we (the collective we, here!) visit.  Locals know the best of the best and can point you in the right direction for must-see and must-visit opportunities.   Christine was gracious enough to give us some free passes to the SeaLife Center, Eric serenaded us with his wonderful old-timey songs and both of them shared some of their favorite local hikes with us.

This big girl likes to hike!  Carter Lake Trail, somewhere between Moose Pass and the Sterling Hwy, AK.

This big girl likes to hike! Carter Lake Trail, somewhere between Moose Pass and the Sterling Hwy, AK.

There is some merit in stumbling upon things on your own, too.  On the drive down, we made a last minute pitstop at a roadside trailhead to get some long car ride jitters out.  The signage promised a Fish and Game stocked lake at the end of the trail, but it didn’t indicate the length of the trail.  We figured it couldn’t be too far if fisher people were going to hike in with their fishing gear.  Maybe we went the wrong way or something, but we hiked up and up and up and up through hemlock forest, alder thickets and willow.  Was this a summit lake?  Are summit lakes that likely freeze out every year stocked with fish? 

Bluebird skies and nice views on the Carter Lake trail.

Bluebird skies and nice views on the Carter Lake trail.

Suffice it to say (aside: interesting article on this phrase for grammar nerds here), we never saw Carter Lake.  We did find amazing views and lots of good fetching sticks, though!  It was nice to gain some altitude and get off the road for awhile.  If any of you find yourself somewhere between the Sterling Highway and Moose Pass, AK and see a sign for Carter Lake Trail, give it a go.  You might not see Carter Lake, but you are sure to have a lovely hike and some tired quads.  Now, that I have internet access, I see that we had nearly made it to Carter Lake, which is 2.3 miles down the trail, about 1/3 mile further than we attempted.  I also found that it is accessible by four wheeler during the summer months, which explains the fishing thing.  Thank you, internet.

Sea star and sea anemone in the touch tank.

Sea star and sea anemone in the touch tank at the SeaLife center

We then made our way to Seward and were rewarded with great friends, great food and great recreation.  

We had the best poutine I’ve ever had (including a visit to Canada), yummy halibut cheeks, scallop and panchetta Macaroni and cheese and yummy Alaskan beers (it is Spring Break, after all!) at Chinook’s.  The restaurant overlooks Resurrection Bay and we could see otters playing from our table!  Unfortunately, my photographs didn’t turn out.

Walking everywhere!

Walking everywhere!

Our trip to the SeaLife Center was as fun, educational and inspiring as expected.  We thought Ava would love to see all of the Alaskan sea life up close and personal.  She liked the critters pretty well, but she LOVED all of the other kids that were there.  She also spent about a quarter of her time on a giant scale that fits multiple people until it reaches 1,700 pounds–the weight of Woody, the Stellar Sea Lion.  It would take many Ava’s to make a Woody!

The Stellar Sea Lion was definitely interested in Ava.

The Steller Sea Lion was definitely interested in Ava.

Time for reflection.

Time for reflection.

Some of these critters seemed to think that Ava was a tasty treat.

Some of these critters seemed to think that Ava was a tasty treat!  I don’t blame them, she is awfully sweet.

We stayed at the historic Hotel Seward because it allows dogs.  Maybe a lot of hotels do this, but it seemed like a good perk to me.  The lobby of this place seems like Alaska interpreted by Wes Anderson.  It is packed full of taxidermied animals.  They were all very festive with leprechaun hats and green shamrocks.  We ate breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant.  There was no one else there and a sign on the bar said, “Please Ring Bell/ This will be like home/ Your waiter and chef will be the same person.”  Traveling in off seasons brings its welcome quirks.  The host/waiter/chef was a very nice man who offered to cut up Ava’s food into baby sized pieces, brought us complimentary fresh fruit and brought out a delicious strawberry filled crepe for us to “test” for an upcoming event.  Yum. What a treat!

Beach Walking

Beach Walking

After another visit with our friends, we finished our trip with an energizing hike from Lowell beach to Tonsina point via a trail that ascends and descends through temperate rain forest.  The towering hemlocks were thick and soft with vibrant green mosses.  Flowing streams reminded us that spring is coming despite chilly temperatures, and, once again, there were many suitable fetching sticks for Moki. We spent our time appreciating and photographing the various micro- and macro-beauty of the trail.

An abondoned truck along the trail.

An abondoned truck along the trail.

Funny fungus gives this wood some extra character!

Funny fungus gives this wood some extra character!

Willow buds!

Willow buds!

All in all, we had a great little trip that satiated many hungers–creative, intellectual, physical, and athletic.  Who could ask for anything more from a spring break?!

Have you been on  or do you plan on going on any quick trips near home this spring?  Tell us about your “spring break”!

Until next time,

Sending you peace and love from Alaska,

Alex, The Rural Farmgirl


Leave a comment 14 Comments

  1. susana says:

    Love the Alaska backwoods trip with you. Even though it was just a visual, I enjoyed the narratives and ohtos. …since I always wanted to go to Alaska but never found the time, even though I have traveled to many wonderful places.
    I Love how Ava is so curious and brave to put her in the water with sea creatures. Must have been a joy to see her test the waters of many adventures. She’s so sweet.
    I love the fungus glasses on the tree….and you feel the wonders of nature first hand. How weird but wonderful…..even G*d has a sense of humor in His creations! Thanks for sharing your spring break!

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thank you, Susana! It was a nice little trip for our family. Ava is a a brave and tough little Farmgirl!

  2. Denise Ross says:

    Sounds a fabulous spring break. We are heading into autumn weather here, and I’m looking forward to some cooler temperatures. We’ve had a long hot summer this year. I’m looking forward to getting outside more from now on.

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      I love that we have a dedicated reader from “down under” (do you even say that in Australia?!). It proves that Farmgirl is a condition of the heart, not location! Happy Fall to you and yours.

  3. Joan says:

    Thanks for the Spring break outing – I had a good time. Ava is growing so quickly – too cute she is. God bless.

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thanks! She is growing up too quickly in my opinion, time for another wee little babe? Blessings to you, as well!

  4. Alex, what a perfect Spring Break trip! I loved Seward. My sister in law (who lives in Anchorage) and I spent a weekend in Seward a number of years ago. My favorite part of our time in the area was taking the Danny J Ferry to Halibut Cove. Oh my goodness, it is beautiful there. We hiked around the island and had lunch at The Saltry (I think that was the name of it), we went to a gallery and bought some beautiful pottery. What a fabulous time! And we stayed at a B&B in Seward and just enjoyed it all. My sister in law was very kind to play tourist with me!!! :-) Loved your post and love that darling little Ava, walking around in her super cute little boots! What did she think of the baby? Hugs, Dori, the Ranch Farmgirl –

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      So cool that you’ve been there, Dori (but you might be thinking of Homer? that’s nearer to Halibut Cove, I think))! I’m loooking forward to getting out on a boat this coming summer when my dad visits. The male half of our friendly couple down there is a captain on a tour boat! He has a classic, calm, Mainer sea captain voice–it will be a treat! Plus, we can’t wait to see that little baby again. At first Ava was indifferent toward the little guy, but once he started crying she wanted to comfort him a bit. So cute to see her interact with other kids and babies!

      • Dori Troutman says:

        Ha Ha!! Yep, you are right! It WAS Homer!! I had to refresh my memory on that trip. One thing I was reminded of by my husband was that he and his brother left from Seward on a big fishing trip and that is where we left them off at before my sister-in-law and I headed out on our weekend trip. And we had the best Halibut Chowder at a little restaurant in Seward. Someday we’ll go back! It’s such a beautiful state! I always look forward to your posts, Alex. – Dori –

        P.S. I’ll be anxious to hear about your boat trip with your Sea Captain friend. That is so awesome! :-)

        • Alexandra Wilson says:

          Mmmmm, Halibut Chowder, my mouth is watering! I look forward to your posts, too, Dori. They help me realize that my dream can be reality some day all while providing great tips that apply to any Farmgirl. I also cannot wait for the boat trip with my friend. His voice is so soothing, it reminds me of an old-timey radio host.

  5. robin fritz says:

    i love your blog, some day i hope to see alaska. have a happy spring!

  6. Jennifer says:

    I would love to visit Alaska sometime; your words paint it so beautifully. My son was talking about going to college there, but it’s just so far from home! Still, an adventure would be lovely. We’re on our Spring Break now and so far, I have signed my oldest homeschooling son up to attend GED classes this summer.

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thank you, Jennifer! It is a long way from home the other states. It is the hardest part about living up here. You should definitely consider a trip up here sometime. I suggest March or late summer!

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