Just got back from the natural wonders of Alaska. The visit was only 10 days -- not nearly enough to explore all that this state, which is over twice the size of Texas, has to offer. We had enough time to hang out in Anchorage for a few days and two side trips.
Anchorage had great food! Most notable was the salmon; I sampled some from a local, who had caught it himself! The restaurants were pretty good too; the pizza at Moose's Tooth rivaled that of any I'd eaten around the world.
We spent one night in Girdwood and visited some really awesome spots in that short timeframe!
The Grind: A cozy coffee shop with full speed wifi and a 'universe provides' moment: when we arrived, most of the places in town were booked, so we asked the barista if she had any suggestions on where to stay. She suggested the place next door, which her friend was running. They had an open room and free yoga included!
Yoga Shack: Not only did they have a nice yoga studio to help us relax, yoga was included when we booked a night in the guest room!
Silvertip: Served hearty burgers to provide fuel for a hike
Jack Sprat: a popular brunch with lots of tastefully tasty food.
Virgin Falls: An easy hike at the end of Timberline Drive provides some nice waterfall viewpoints!
Winner Creek Trail: A scenic hike that included a hand-tram, a wooded trail, and some waterfalls
Denali State Park
We rented a car and drove about 3 hours to a cabin I had rented us on Byers Lake. For only $70, it was a great deal. Unfortunately, I didn't know it, but we were supposed to bring our own bedding and firewood. Fortunately, someone left us a bunch of firewood. Unfortunately, we didn't even have a sleeping bag, so we had to use a towel for a pillow and a dress shirt as a blanket while we slept on plywood bed frames. Whoops! Lesson learned.
The next day, we began to drive north into the National Park. Unfortunately, our tank of gas dipped below 1/2 tank, and seeing as how there wasn't a gas station within 300 miles, we decided to turn around and head back to Anchorage. Nevertheless, the taste of the forest was amazing, and we hiked all the way around Byers Lake and even caught a glimpse of a waterfall before the sun set just after 10pm on that warm August Alaskan Day.