Day 2 in Alaska, we decided to head downtown and explore Anchorage a little. We let the kids do some souvenir shopping and checked out the flea market scene.
We were appropriately awed by the Anchorage Visitor's Center, and it's grassy roof.
And we enjoyed checking out how far we were from various other cities.
We saw some street performers,
hung out with a bear,
and found the Qiviut store. We learned that qiviut is the Inuit word for muskox and the fur of a muskox is extremely soft (and expensive!)
The store in Anchorage sells items made of qiviut yarn that has been knit by one of 200 Native Alaskan women on the outlying regions of the state. We really enjoyed learning about the muskox yarn and feeling it in comparison to other wool yarns.
After checking out the Alaska mint and seeing some chunks of real Alaska gold, we headed back to the hotel for a bit.
Each of the last 2 evenings we spent some time exploring the Coastal Trail in Anchorage. I've combined the pictures of both evenings to show you the beauty of both the wooded and sea trails.
We started out our exploration of the Coastal Trail in Earthquake Park.
We found a branch (for lack of a better term) with the cottonwood seeds attached.
We tried to outrace the mosquitos, but a few found us anyway.
At the lookout of Earthquake Park, we were able to see downtown Anchorage just past the water, with the mountains rising behind downtown.
My favorite park of walking down the Coastal Trail yesterday was the wildflowers. I was so happy to have my wildflower guide in tow. When we first arrived in Alaska and I saw these wildflowers, I thought they were Queen Anne's Lace on steroids, but it turns out they are actually Wild Celery. They really are tall, some of them 3 feet or higher.
We saw many of these lovely purple flowers, which I think are Eskimo Potato.
The Yarrow were sprinkled between the Wild Celery sometimes and could be deceiving, but they definitely have their own leaves. We even spotted a pinkish one (by a sign and not in a pretty place for a picture).
I don't know what these next 2 plants are because they weren't in my guide (that I could find) but the yellow were sprinkled in many places and the wispy fan plant was so fascinating. I'd love to know what they are.
The landscape of these Subalpine Fir with their scrawny, patchy look was interesting. So many different trees, bushes and flowers to absorb.
Shortly it was time to head back out of Earthquake Park.
And Finn found an uncle that didn't mind giving him a ride.
On our way back to the hotel, Paul spotted a moose grazing near the road. So of course, we all piled out and watch from a safe distance. A moose on the first day in Alaska...how exciting!
This evening, when I suggested heading back to Earthquake Park for another evening walk, I was informed that we will be having no more "mosquito walks at dusk." Fortunately, just a bit further down the Coastal Trail, we stumbled upon Point Woronzof Park.
After a rather steep walk down the bluffs (on the trail, of course!), we found a lovely mosquito-less place to stroll along the water.
Strolling quickly turned to rock-throwing, naturally.
And Finn walked away with the evidence coating his hands.
We ventured further down the coast and the view of Anchorage across the water with bluffs towering over us on the side was just amazing.
You get a small feel for just how high the bluffs are when you see the boys climb the very bottom part.
Or Elizabeth crouched beside them hunting for interesting rocks.
We'll be moving on to Denali tomorrow, and although I can't wait to see what adventures are in store there, it will be hard to leave Anchorage with so many scenic spots as yet untouched. I'll guess we'll have to return to Anchorage again sometime!