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  #61  
Old October 2nd, 2012, 10:48 PM
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The bear shots are amazing! I can only hope that I get some pictures like this next year. Thanks!

Hey there Sue - I really hope that you do too - it was truely AMAZING!! When are you going and who do you do your Bear Trip with - very exciting!!
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  #62  
Old October 2nd, 2012, 10:54 PM
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Just one thing here – when we arrived at Katmai I was amazed to find that people were camping there. OMG – amongst the grizzly bears – are you kidding me??? One group had an electric fence set up around their tents but the others were right down by the river and had nothing around their tents and the bears were wandering down the river right beside their camp!! Well I might be up for most things but camping amongst wild grizzly bears NAH!!!! Are you insane??




How insane is that?? Our guide was telling us that you can camp there but need to move camp every 12 days. Apparently an Australian guy stayed there for 3 months - moving camp every 12 days. I am guessing this might have something to do with the Bears picking up your scent or something perhaps??? AND at this point just let me point out that I am from New Zealand NOT Australian!!!!

Anyway with great sadness we boarded the sardine tin and flew back to Homer with the knowledge that we had just experienced something truly amazing. Even DH was amazed and in awe of the experience. AND – you guessed it – we got some awesome photos – all 463 of them!!!
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  #63  
Old October 2nd, 2012, 11:46 PM
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Once back in Homer we bid farewell to our excursion buddies and headed home for a fantastic feed of oysters, scallops and fish that we grilled on the BBQ then headed to bed after downloading our photos.


Our yummy seafood BBQ to top off an awesome day!!

Sadly we leave Homer tomorrow - had planned on staying another night to spend more time looking around but due to a muck up with our reservation and the owner only booking us for two night rather than the three we requested we will be heading out in the morning.
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  #64  
Old October 4th, 2012, 02:05 AM
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Slept in until about 9am then up and heading to Girdwood where we had booked for just one night. The drive, once again was amazing - unbelievable scenery!!


Russian Orthodox Church on the road on the way to Homer. Spent some time just wandering through the graveyard with some very old headstones and graves.










The beauty of the place just keeps getting better and better - every postcard that you have ever seen about Alaska is exactly as it is!!

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  #65  
Old October 4th, 2012, 02:08 AM
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More and more beautiful glaciers!!
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  #66  
Old October 4th, 2012, 02:11 AM
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We stayed at the Alyeska Resort which is the only Ski Resort in the whole of Alaska – is that weird?? A place that is covered with soo much snow and ice and they only have one ski resort?? Seemed kinda odd to me. Anyway it was a lovely place and I managed to get in and have a massage not long after we arrived – it was devine. Just chilled for the rest of the afternoon (what was left of it) then headed to the restaurant for dinner and to bed by 11.30pm.


The Entrance to the Alyeska Resort - fabulous place that I would definitely go back to.
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  #67  
Old October 4th, 2012, 02:50 AM
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This was a fabulous gas heater outside at the Resort.


Me enjoying lounging by the heater - was really lovely - trying to convince DH to build one for home!!




Water Feature in front of Resort.




Front of Resort.
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  #68  
Old October 4th, 2012, 02:53 AM
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Entry to the hotel lobby.



Another gas brassier. Pretty cool!!

Today we went for a wander around the resort - it was like a small town with a number of places to eat, shops, spa, gym, pool etc. About noon we headed out for our short drive to Anchorage. Weather remains nice – sunny and warm – much warmer than we had expected. For the next 3 nights we are staying at the Grand Anchorage Hotel and we are looking forward to staying put for a few days and not rushing off. Put a couple of loads of washing through and hoping that my clothes will still fit me when they come out of the drier!!! I feel the Exercise Demon tutt tutting at me as I say this – I just give her my evil stare and after a while she lurks back into her corner and shuts her eyes!!

Just one other thing that I have noticed – it isn’t only the Cruiseships that have those hideous circus mirrors – it is the whole of Alaska!!! They all have them – how unfortunate is that – everytime I walk past one I see this short fat thing looking back at me – what the hell is that all about????
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  #69  
Old October 4th, 2012, 03:12 AM
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Hey there Sue - I really hope that you do too - it was truely AMAZING!! When are you going and who do you do your Bear Trip with - very exciting!!
Hey Twinkd, we're going to be in AK from August 15 - 26th. We haven't set up a date for the bear watching yet but it is on our list of things to do.
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Old October 5th, 2012, 08:08 PM
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Thumbs up loving it!

hey Twinkd ~
am totally loving your review! pictures and commentary are brilliant
i believe the mirrors are a definite conspiracy
please keep it coming and thanks a bunch for posting!
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  #71  
Old October 5th, 2012, 11:13 PM
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Hey Twinkd, we're going to be in AK from August 15 - 26th. We haven't set up a date for the bear watching yet but it is on our list of things to do.
Oh wow - you will have the BEST time!! Are you cruising or just travelling around? On our first trip we went out to Traitors Cove from Ketchikan with Island Wings and it was an amazing day but have to say now that I have been out with the Grizzlies - they were sooo much better. Both pretty pricey though BUT - a once in a lifetime experience!!
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  #72  
Old October 5th, 2012, 11:14 PM
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hey Twinkd ~
am totally loving your review! pictures and commentary are brilliant
i believe the mirrors are a definite conspiracy
please keep it coming and thanks a bunch for posting!
Thanks so much - I am really enjoying doing it - all those wonderful memories!! And yes, now that you mention it, I think you are right about the conspiracy theory!!!
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  #73  
Old October 6th, 2012, 12:38 AM
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Today, much to the delight of the Exercise Demon, we are hiring bikes to bike around the Tony Knowles Trail which is 11 miles long and follows the coast on the outer side of Anchorage.





Hoping to see some Moose as this trail is well known for Moose sightings. So off we stroll to the bike rental shop. The guy who served us was something else!! Either he was on drugs or he needed to be – he was bouncing off the walls!! Very enthusiastic about his job and the rides/bikes!! So after finally extracting ourselves from the shop we headed off.

Wow the trail was awesomenot far into our ride we came around a corner and there right in front of us directly beside the trail were two baby moose just hanging out and eating the vegetation.








How cute are these guys??


We stopped and waited quite a while just watching them and waiting for them to move on. You can not approach the Moose and have to wait for them to move and, as we found out, this can take some time as they are not in any hurry!
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  #74  
Old October 6th, 2012, 12:40 AM
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They were just hanging out and eating the trees - in no hurry to move.
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  #75  
Old October 6th, 2012, 12:46 AM
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At this point, as the Exercise Demon rolled her eyes in disgust, I hopefully suggested to DH that we could go back now as we had seen what we came for. He was not having a bar of that so we headed on.

A little further on in the ride, about the same time as Mr Grey’s nipple clamps again attached themselves to my nether regions, we came across another baby Moose grazing beside the track.









Whilst we were watching her, the mother appeared also. Now we had to stand and just watch these two for quite sometime as they were having a good old feed and showed no interest in moving on. This was kind of a blessing in disguise really as it gave me time to inhale some much needed oxygen before the paramedics needed to be called and to allow the feeling to return to my butt!!


Mum Moose checking us out!!


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  #76  
Old October 6th, 2012, 01:10 AM
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love this thread! Your pics are breathtaking. I felt like I was on vacation right next you. Looking forward to more
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  #77  
Old October 6th, 2012, 02:51 AM
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After this we remounted our bikes and we were off again only to come across a big old bull moose grazing a little way into the vegetation. Now to give credit here where it is due – if it had not been for the eagle eye of DH I would have missed this big old guy completely, so well disguised was he amongst the vegetation – but DH saw him and we stopped for just a short time to observe him.

Now just to add to the torture that my legs had already been subjected to, at the end of this stretch of the ride, there was a big hill to ride up - “oh are you kidding me???” Well I huffed and I puffed and chanted the mantra “I think I can, I think I can” and I made it all the way to the top of that sucker albeit nearly expiring in the process!! But I did it and had a well earned rest at the end.


One of the gorgeous gardens along the way.

Now we had two options at this point – well 3 really but the “curl up and die option wasn’t to be”!! We could either retrace the path that we had just ridden and perhaps see more moose or we could ride past the airport and see all the seaplanes and then on into town. DH was quite keen to see the seaplanes and I did not really mind either way although I did make a quick mental note that the second option was 14 miles as opposed to the original path that was only 11!! (I can’t believe I just said ONLY 11!!). I must also point out here that I was feeling surprising well considering the distance that I had just ridden and felt (I must have been delusional by this point) that I could go another 14 miles. So the airport/town route was the option we took. The seaplanes were amazing – hundreds of them all lined up around this lake. Let it be noted here that 1 in every 69 people in Alaska owns a plane – how cool is that??




Some of the many Seaplanes.


And some more!!
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  #78  
Old October 6th, 2012, 03:05 AM
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After about another 9 miles this track rejoined the Tony Knowles Trail and we ended up back at the start having ridden a total of 25 miles.


Me on my speedy ride!!

We then headed to the bike shop, dropped off our bikes (thank goodness hypo-man was not there) and walked back to our hotel. Now at this point my Inner Exercise Demon was happy to snuggle under her duvet with a smug look on her face and mutter “I think I am done for the day”. At this same time I was lying near death on my bed thinking “Done for the day?? Are you kidding me?? I am done for the rest of the year!!!”

Crackers, cheese and tomatoes for dinner that night – I was not moving off that bed for quite some time I can tell you!!

Today, after what I had thought would be a night of dead sleep, which in reality was a crappy night of tossing and turning in the heat and listening to the trains tooting their whistles all night, we awoke feeling surprising well. Mr Grey had removed his clamps overnight and apart from a slight whine from my thighs I felt okay. So we headed into town for a bite to eat and a wander around the shops. I can not believe how many gift shops are in Anchorage – every second shop, actually just about every shop, is a gift shop – all selling the same stuff.


One of the many Gift Shops.


One of the streets of Anchorage.

So bought some of the mandatory gifts for those at home and a box from the Post Office to send some of our stuff home – it was so warm we were not using a lot of our winter clothes and we were worried that our bags would be overweight for our flight back to Vancouver. What is it with airlines – they will let you put 10kg on your butt while you are on holiday but not put 5kgs in your bag?? Anyway we headed back to the hotel, packed up the box, returned to the Post Shop and sent a parcel on home - $120 for the postage thank you very much!!

We returned our rental car then did the Trolley Bus tour of town. I thought this was okay, if not a little corny, and DH was disappointed that we did not go further into the outskirts of Anchorage – it was a “City Tour” and that was what we got. I think it was worth the $15 to do it anyway.


The Trolley Bus.


One of the many City Gardens.



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  #79  
Old October 6th, 2012, 03:11 AM
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This is the roof of an underground house that we saw on the tour. Pretty cool!!


Now - on the airport road - planes have the right of way so we had to stop and give way to the planes on the road - something different that probably doesn't happen in to many places in the world.



Tonight we just went to the Mall and grabbed a plate of Chinese for dinner then headed back to pack our bags for the train trip to Fairbanks in the morning.
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Old October 6th, 2012, 04:24 AM
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Up early to catch the train to Fairbanks. Headed down the hill to the train station – not very far at all.



People had already started to mill around. We booked in and got our passes and allocated seats. We had decided to splurge and go Goldstar Class – glad we did as it was a long trip.

Hung around for a while before we were called upon to board – this was easy and we were onboard and ready to go in no time. Now I really enjoyed this train ride whilst DH thought it was too long and he spent most of the time out on the viewing platform looking forward to the end!! We did meet up with another couple who were sitting behind us who were also from New Zealand. Chatted to them for a while and read my book enjoying the scenery as it zoomed by and feeling smug that my Exercise Demon will not have any hope of making an appearance today!!

Had both breakfast and dinner in the dining room which were okay but typical mass produced fare!!

Everyone on the train had their eyes pealed for wild life. A guy across the aisle from us was really really hoping to see some as he had not seen any since arriving in Alaska. He had seen moose footprints, moose bones and even some moose poo’s but no moose!! Sadly this was not to change – no wildlife sightings on this trip!! I didn’t have the heart to mention the 5 moose that we had seen in Anchorage or God forbid the 20 Grizzly Bear in Katmai!!


Goldstar Train - glass dome carriages - fabulous!!


Some of the scenery along the way.



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