There is nothing finer than a sunny, summer day in Anchorage. 72 degrees and blue skies meant it was time to get out and enjoy the day. Of course, sunrise was at 0330 so that helped get me out of bed early. Pro Tip: Bring an airline sleeping mask with you when you come visit, otherwise you are going to find your body wanting to go all day long and never sleep.
Downtown is only about a mile from my house so a quick ride. The wife and I parked on 4th Avenue. 4th Avenue is the edge of downtown since 1-3rd kind of fell away in the 1964 earthquake! The Anchorage Visitor’s Center is on 4th Avenue and a good place to start your tour.
Right next to the Visitor’s Center is the tiny downtown park where you can occasionally catch a performance. Also, surrounding the park and across the street in front of the old Federal Building are an Anchorage staple – hot dog stands. Alaska cannot have any old hot dog stand, of course, we have reindeer sausage stands. Sure, you can also get an excellent Polish or Brat, but if you are in Alaska, be adventurous. Try one and tell me they are not excellent – I dare you … And tell little kids that you ate Rudolph!
Note that across from the park is the Anchorage Hilton. Not a bad place to stay with a great view of all of Anchorage. They will loan you a fishing pole if you want to walk down to Ship Creek and try your hand at catching some salmon!
Walking from the Visitor’s Center to 5th Avenue, you will find another park, this time in front of the Performing Arts Center. Note that we plant cabbages in with our flowers just to see how large they grow. The record is nearly 100 lbs!
At 6th and G St. you will see a neat little science experiment. They have the sun at the scale of the earth equaling one inch. Then as you travel west downtown and eventually along the Coastal Trail, they have each planet at its scale distance from the sun. More on that on tomorrow’s post.
Keep walking to 6th Avenue and you will see an iconic watering hole in Anchorage – Humpy’s! Side note, I ran into a Humpy’s in Kona and thought they were a rip-off of the original. Only to find out they are related. In Hawaii, instead of Humpy meaning a spawning pink salmon, they say humpy means a humpback whale.
Humpy’s is a bar turned restaurant, for the record, I always go there to eat and a drink is occasionally involved. Our favorite there is the Health Nut Halibut which you can get either charbroiled or blackened. With a scoop of rice, teriyaki sauce and a small salad, it is a great meal. Humpy’s also is famous for having over 100 beers on tap. There is a challenge to get through them all. That’s a merit badge that I have yet to earn.
They also have their own gift shop where the old coat check used to be. Get one and see if someone doesn’t stop you when you are wearing it around the Lower 48. Humpy’s is also one of the only places I know who proudly display their military discount of 10% off!
Lastly for today, we went down to Ship Creek to see if there were any salmon running. Go down the bluff that the town is built on and find 1st Avenue, Take a right and go about half a mile to a dirt parking lot on your left. Park there and you will be right next to Ship Creek and the Weir. You can walk out on the Weir which is a little dam that opens only at certain times to let the salmon swim upstream. As a consequences, the salmon gather in front of the Weir and you can have a great chance to see them up close.
Notice how dry the river is. I have never seen it this low, but I expect that is a direct result of our record low snowfall of 25 inches this year. Today we just saw two Silvers. Timing is everything.