An Epic Birthday Weekend in Seward

I’ve always loved celebrating birthdays in really big ways.  Last year I celebrated my 30th birthday in Yosemite, but this year I was planning on sticking around Alaska and doing something amazing closer to home.  We thought about doing various backpacking trips or big hikes, but we ultimately chose to go down to Seward to celebrate in my favorite town with some of my favorite people.  We used to live in Seward when we first moved to Alaska and we love going back to visit whenever we can.  My birthday was Saturday and we started the day off with a lazy morning before heading off on our road trip 2 hours down to Seward!

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It was cloudy in Anchorage and rainy on the drive down, but as we headed into Seward we could see some blue skies.  We immediately drove over to the trailhead of the hiker’s trail to Mt. Marathon to start my birthday hike!  Mt. Marathon is a notoriously difficult mountain, especially if you take the runner’s trail to the top.  You can read all about my first and only time summiting the mountain 4 years ago here and information about the Mt. Marathon race, which will be happening on Wednesday, here.  We wanted to have fun but not go too hard, so we decided to hike up the hiker’s trail and stop at The Bowl, which is a gorgeous spot on the mountain that still has amazing views of Seward and Resurrection Bay.

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I remember this trail being “hard” the last couple times I’ve done it, but this time it didn’t feel tough at all.  I definitely had to take a few breaks on the way up but I couldn’t believe how much easier it felt this time.  I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’ve been hiking in Alaska for four years now or the fact that I’m training for Kilimanjaro and have been hiking a ton this year, but I felt like I was experiencing this trail in a whole new way this time.  The trail definitely starts off steep but from that point on it’s really not bad at all.  And as soon as you get above the treeline the views become gorgeous.

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Once we reached The Bowl I started to get really excited about our choice for my birthday hike.  Seward and Resurrection Bay looked amazing from up there and I could spend forever just staring at these views.

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Looking down on all of Seward
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The Bowl

We spent some time exploring The Bowl and playing around in the snow.  My silly birthday wish as a kid used to be to see snow on my birthday, and now that I live in Alaska I can actually make that wish come true!

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31 and loving it already!

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After all of that uphill work, the hike back down was super easy and quick.  We spent the rest of the night catching up with our friends who we haven’t seen in a while.  We were still figuring out what to do on Sunday when our friends offered to take us up in their plane!  Both of them got their pilot’s licenses over the winter so this would be our first time flying with them.  I’m terrified of small planes but the thought of seeing some glaciers from a plane was too exciting to turn down.

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I seriously almost cried getting into that little tiny plane.  But after about a minute of bumpy air time we started flying over Seward and I started to forget how scared I was.  The views of Seward from above were gorgeous, and they kept getting better as we flew out towards Kenai Fjords National Park and the Harding Ice Field.

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Seward (and Mt. Marathon) from the air
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Bear Glacier and the Harding Ice Field

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Aialik Glacier

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Our flight was only 35 minutes but we took a route that our old tour boat company does in 6 hours!  I loved being able to get all the way out to Aialik Bay that fast, and seeing the glaciers from a new vantage point was amazing.  I surprised myself by not crying at all even though I was so scared of crashing that I was starting to feel sick.  I have to credit my friend for making every part of the flight (even the landing!) not scary at all.  Although it might be a while until I do that again!

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Overall it was an epic weekend and I feel so lucky to be able to celebrate my birthday in such a gorgeous place!

What’s the coolest thing you’ve done for your birthday?  Would you ever fly in a tiny plane?


14 thoughts on “An Epic Birthday Weekend in Seward

  1. Wow! What a great birthday! I rode in a tiny plane once in Hawaii, where we flew over the active volcano on the big island. I threw up so much it was hard to enjoy the flight. It wasn’t nearly as enjoyable as yours, it sounds like.

  2. Oh my goodness, what an awesome birthday! And Happy Birthday! I’ve been in a small plane a few times. The scariest was a World War II B-25 Bomber, which looked like a Pepsi can 😬

  3. Happy late birthday! I wanted to say thank you for your comment on my blog a few months back about starting my journey with hiking. I am still in the process but your blog is definitely an inspiration to keep going and pursuing the goal! Your photography and writing skills are amazing!! Such a great post about your birthday.

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