This past weekend, I took my final mileage run of the year, from PHL to ANC. Julia and I used to live in Alaska, in a small bush village in the Southwest; Aniak. We moved back to the Lower 48 in 2006, and I haven’t been back since 2009. I had a choice of either a 45 minute layover, or a 24 hour and 45 minute layover. Hoping some of my friends from Aniak might be in town, and wanting to spend at least a little time back in AK, I opted for the layover. One of the great features of Ted Stevens International (ANC) is that the car rental concessions are just down a flight of stairs and a short walk through a tunnel. My flight arrived about 1 am, and less than a half hour later I was on my way, having found a $35 AWD Nissan Rogue from Avis for 24 hours. I stayed at the Sheraton Anchorage, on the edge of downtown on 6th Avenue. I’ll post a separate review of the Sheraton later this week.
There’s a saying in Alaska, “Anchorage isn’t in Alaska, but you can see it from there.” In the center of the photo is Mt. Susitna. On a clear day, you can see Denali on what would be the right edge of the photo. This view, from Resolution Park on L Street in downtown Anchorage is what I think of when I hear that.
The next morning, I walked around downtown early in the morning, and watched the sunrise at 10 am. Weekend parking anywhere downtown in the winter is easy peasey. Downtown Anchorage seems to change very little, some restaurants had different names, some stores have changed hands. W. 4th Ave. (of course) has a couple marijuana shops. I didn’t notice any major new construction, although I’m sure some Anchorage fan-boy will dispute that in the comments.
I drove down to the Comfort Inn, an old favorite from our days of living in the bush, from 2003 to 2006. Pet friendly, inexpensive, and Ship Creek, loaded with salmon in the early summer, is right outside the door. <cue Frank Zappa’s “Mud Shark”>.
I went out for a walk along Ship Creek Trail, a paved trail behind the Comfort Inn. Certainly not the prettiest trail in Anchorage, but I needed to see, hear, and breath moving Alaska water ASAP. I know this sounds a little asshole-ish, but that’s one of those “if you have to ask, I can’t explain it” things. I haven’t been back since 2009, and even though it was December, it was a high priority. I took these photos along the trail, it was about 30 degrees above, and the dew point was about the same. The dried plants and berries took on an edging of ice crystals, which gave me a chance to try out the macro capabilities of my new Canon 6D, with 24-105 f/4L. Ever been to Anchorage in the winter?