Bear Peak

Alaska is pretty great, but Seward is especially easy to love. There’s something about those scraggly, dramatic mountains rising over Resurrection Bay that lend it charm.

July 4th 2021

My cousins and family had come to A-town (Anchorage) for a week, and so amongst other Southcentral Alaska things such as Flat Top, Gold Chord Lake, and Crow Creek gold panning, we made arrangements to spend some time in Seward. Now; Seward is no stranger to tourism, thanks to a lovely blend of both natural beauty and the free market, however Seward is especially full of foreigners (such as myself) on 4th of July weekend. Why is 4th of July weekend in Seward such a rave, even for us Alaskans? Well, 4th of July is historically when the popular Mt. Marathon Race takes place. Fortunately (at least for this year anyways) race day was moved to Tuesday so the city wouldn’t be as overrun as it otherwise gets.

(Ok, so maybe that’s not the real reason the day changed, but that is the reason I’m happy its not held on the weekend.)

View from Bear Peak. Mt Marathon’s Race point is the plateau at far left

Now if you’ve hiked Mt. Marathon’s race point too many times and you want to try something different next time you visit Seward: Bear Peak is similar in difficulty and only 2 miles to the south.

My legs still had some unrest they wanted to quell (I guess the little bit of me that’s British was really feeling it this Independence Day), and the idea of Bear Peak had gotten into my head. My dad, who “didn’t like the sound of Bear Peak” when I announced it, had a less delightful vision that he couldn’t shake; bears eating a solo Shane. So he decided to come too.

There is no trailhead, so you’ll have to park somewhere in town and walk to the start (about 60.103930, -149.445480). The start of the trail could stand to be made more obvious, but it jags to the left for a couple steps before shooting straight up the mountain. The trail was crude, but good and there was no shortage of handholds amongst the trees and their exposed roots. The old man kept up really well. We were both red faced and breathing heavy when we broke from treeline and crested the 2700′ alpine vista.

From here dad would nap and soak in the views while I round-tripped the summit of Bear Peak. The east ridge of Bear Peak was the natural angle of attack from here. The hour was late in the day, that having driven from Anchorage, and we needed to return at a respectable hour for diner with family, so after a solid rest and snack with Dad on the vista, I scurried quickly to cover the final 1300′ in an hour. The ridge was fun, but I don’t have any* pictures of it 1) I was rushing and didn’t stop to take any, and 2) I was solo and didn’t have any subjects to put in frame.

The summit views on Bear Peak are nice, to say the least. We descended by the same trail. This trail has some muddy sections in locations of steep incline. This trail would not be as enjoyable on or shortly after a rainy day.

July 5th 2021

The next day, visiting family and myself boarded a cruise tour into Kenai Fjords National Park. The sky this day wasn’t nearly as generous as the previous day. Nonetheless we saw all of the (aquatic) animals as well as the wide, calving toe of Aialik Glacier.

The calving toe of Aialik Glacier

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