~Sunday, July 24, 2022~
Day 34 of Alaska Trip
Great news……we have blue skies which fit in perfectly with our plans to ride the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, which connects Kincaid Park to downtown Anchorage. This trail was recommended to us by our friends Katie and Wayne who recently met up with us in Anchorage. Getting to the trailhead required a drive instead of leaving directly from the campground which meant moving the bikes from the back of the trailer to the back of the truck…..a little longer process, but worth it!
When we arrived, the parking lot was packed! Our other clue was seeing numerous people covered in mud, post race. Evidently the annual Anchorage RunFest had just wrapped up.……a 5K mud run and obstacle course. Everyone looked like they were having a ball. I mean, what would be more fun than playing in mud? After getting some trailhead directions from a MudRun participant, we hit the trail. This beautiful coastal trail was named after former Alaska governor Tony Knowles who served from 1994 to 2002. This is without a doubt, one of the most beautiful biking trails we’ve ridden on. If you ever come to Anchorage without bikes, RENT THEM!!!
The trail is 11 miles long (one way) and was completely repaved in 2014. The vegetation is so lush, no wonder the bears and moose love it so much. In fact, we saw a moose at the beginning of our ride, munching on branches.
A few of us stopped to watch (from a distance), until some idiot came from behind in the dense shrubbery and spooked it, causing the moose to run a little towards us. Believe me, I gave him a piece of my mind (the guy, not the moose). Being a Sunday, the trail was quite busy with both walkers and cyclists (with many on electric bikes which is all the rage right now). The trail gently winds along the coast with intoxicating smells of purple fireweed, and dense vegetation. Occasionally we’d find sections that opened up to bay views exposing mudflats with our timing of low tide.
One attraction along the trail that stops everyone in their tracks, is watching the take-offs and landings from Anchorage International Airport; and I mean right over your head. Another point of interest along the path is the Turnagain Heights landslide…the largest and most destructive landslide in Anchorage. 90-seconds into the Good Friday Earthquake in 1964, an 8,000 foot strip of bluff, 1,200 feet wide began cracking apart into large blocks which slid toward Cook Inlet; over 12 million cubic yards of sand and debris, taking many homes with it. The results of the erosion and sheer cliffs are still visible today. 8 miles later, we knew we were getting close to Anchorage as the trail transitioned to a more urban setting.
Arriving at our endpoint in Anchorage pretty hungry, we decided to stop at 49th State Brewery once again for a late lunch/early dinner. The wait-50 minutes, which became more like 90-minutes. But it was worth the wait with our perfect seat situated on the rooftop with views of downtown Anchorage, the Chugach Mountains, Denali, Mt. Susitna and Fire Island. Everything was fabulous. Jeff’s beer was amazing, and my passionfruit mojito (not too sweet) was the best mojito I’d ever had. I liked it so much, I asked our delightful waitress for the recipe. Lucky me, the bartender is one of her best friends so I got the recipe! Alayna (our waitress) is from Serbia, comes from a family of 11 siblings and is the only child to leave her native country for more opportunities. She is passionate about travel and plans on working a series of jobs to make ends meet, taking her path on wherever life leads her until she returns home to finish her Sociology degree. She seemed fascinated about our journey as well.
Nothing like riding back after a big lunch of delicious halibut Fish ‘n Chips. But it was a good calorie burner with our 11-mile ride back. Since we forgot our bear spray (really stupid), and the trail less busy, I decided to play some Stevie Wonder on my Pandora app for added noise so as not to surprise any furry creatures.
Our stop in Anchorage was definitely worth it. From meeting up with Katie and Wayne, to the culture, wildlife and views that wow, we’ll definitely be back.