Rivers of Ice, Knik Glacier – Palmer, Alaska

From Portage we drove to the east on the scenic Glenn Highway and spent a few days in Palmer  located 42 miles northeast of Anchorage. This town is  considered as the garden hub of Alaska due to its microclimate which produces amazing giant vegetables but we missed seeing most of them since it is too late in the season.

Palmer Alaska
Record of giant veggies in Palmer through the years
Palmer Alaska
A sampling of these giant veggies at the Visitor Center

During our stay at the Mountain View RV Park we found out about the Knik Glacier tour via a brochure, which advised that we would be whisked away via 4-wheel-drive van, airboat and jetboat to the glacier.  Airboat was the magic word for Steve, who wants to experience every form of transportation known to man before he dies.  It was a fairly short trip (3 hours) and very affordable, so off we went. On our way there a mama Moose and calf crossed the highway.  We didn’t have to pay extra for that!

Knik Glacier
Mama moose showing baby moose the right way to get hit by a car.

We met our guides Tom and Tom, who split up the group and took us in 2 vans over some very rough roads and across streams that were at least a couple of feet deep and quite wide.  That part of the trip was exciting, but it was only to get us to the boats.  Then half of the tourists got in the airboat (us included) and the other half in the jetboat.  Off we went for a 20-minute ride to the Knik Glacier where Tom  skirted several large chucks of ice as we got to the edge of the glacier and then we turned to dock at the camp.  The drive was beautiful as the riverbed was adorned with pink and white wildflowers, and the sight of ice in front of us from the boats was amazing.

Knik Glacier, Palmer, AK
The airboat
River Bed at Knik Glacier, Palmer
Drive onto a river bed
Knick Glacier, Palmer
Driving around the icebergs
Knik Glacier, Palmer
Flowers looking like ice or snow
Knik Glacier
Icebergs are actually clear, not blue.  But in large chunks you will see blue in the parts of ice that have been compressed to the point that hardly any oxygen remains.  This allows only the color blue from the light spectrum to reflect into our eyes.

Once on shore, we were served hot drinks and snacks while relaxing across from the glacier.  The icebergs were too numerous to allow us to get right up to the glacier, but since the boats were so small we were able to navigate closely around them to check them out on our.  Pretty cool to be able to actually reach out and touch an iceberg!  Knik is stunning, so vast and quite different from the other glaciers that we have seen on previous tours or hikes.

Knik Glacier
Amazing iceberg formation
Knik Glacier
Venturing out into the bank of glaciers

Knik Glacier

Rivers of Ice, Knik Glacier
Rivers of Ice, Knik Glacier

After kicking back and exploring around the area for wildlife (we saw only one black bear from a distance), we switched places in the boats so we could ride the jetboat and headed back to “headquarters.”

Looking for wild animals, Knik Glacier
Looking for wild animals

It was a fun trip and the weather was decent.  A nice way to spend an afternoon on a bit of an adventure in yet another beautiful part of Alaska.  If you are in the area, check them out at:   www.knikglacier.com

The RV park we stayed at has mountain views and the sites were grass.  While there, we had company one day, 20 motorhomes and fifth wheelers on an Alaskan Tour caravan.

Mountain View RV Park, Palmer Alaska
Mountain View RV Park

 



 

Fun on the spit, Homer Spit that is…

Homer Alaska

Homer is at the “end of the road”  of the Sterling Highway in the Kenai Peninsula.  And Homer Spit is a 5-mile long narrow finger of land jutting into Kachemak Bay and that’s where our RV park is located.  We have heard good reviews of Homer from locals and tourists before arriving here and  we were not disappointed.  This town is nestled on the shore of a glistening bay, glaciers and mountains.  Just beautiful !

Homer Spit
Homer Spit

We had a great time doing touristy activities here despite the rain and cloud covers.  There is so much to do!  Homer is the Halibut capital and this town is really all about fishing.

This haul is from only one of the charters!
Fishermen play up to the tourists too!
Homer Spit
Most of these boats will take you out fishing, for a price.

We pigged out one day to enjoy local fresh seafood!

First, some tasty sweets at  Two Sisters Bakery, recommended by my fishing friend Sarah.

Steve had a difficult time making up his mind what to get. 🙂

For lunch we had the local Halibut fish and chips ($16)  and Halibut tacos at Fresh Catch Cafe.  This place serves awesome food, and we recommend it highly!

Fresh Catch Cafe.
Delicious lunch at Fresh Catch Cafe.
Kachemak Bay Oysters
Kachemak Bay Oysters, sweet and fresh.

Then a mandatory stop to the oldest and most historical landmark in Homer, a saloon originally built in 1897, Salty Dawg to get a cold drink.

Salty Dawg
Salty Dawg
Money hanging everywhere and I mean every nook and cranny!

We try not to pass up a good biking trail, especially when it has fantastic views.  On our third day there the sun finally came out and we followed the bike path and pedestrian walkway for 10 miles into town and then back out onto the spit.

Arctic Lupine adorned the trail
Homer Spit
Scenic biking trail

Steve has been wanting to fly in a floatplane, and even though he planned to do it later in our travels the weather was perfect.  He made an appointment and was able to see some fantastic scenery in the mountains and glaciers around Homer.

Sea Plane Tour

And away they go
Happy man after his water landing.

And this is what’s for dinner – home-cooked fresh caught halibut, spinach and tomatoes.  The freshest halibut ever….YUM!

Fresh halibut for dinner

We stayed at Heritage RV Park on the Homer Spit, pricey but with awesome views.