Amid the craggy mountains and massive icefields of Alaska rests the Kenai Peninsula extending approximately 150 miles (240 km) into the Gulf of Alaska.
Surrounded by frigid waters teeming with sea life and the towering masses of the Kenai Mountains, the Peninsula is host to a plethora of wildlife.
We first arrived on the Peninsula via the Seward Highway, a scenic highway traversing south from Anchorage to Seward.
The western side, protected by Cook Inlet, is marshy habitat, lakes, and rivers. Here we saw moose wading in sparkling waters, grazing on marsh grass. Chickadees danced in the foliage among numerous red berries and wildflowers.
The Peninsula’s eastern side is dominated by glaciers that originate from the Sargent and Harding Icefields.
The Harding Icefield, the largest icefield in the U.S., spawns 40 glaciers and receives up to 400 inches of snow a year. Info here.
Kenai Fjords National Park is also on the eastern side, with a 700,000 acre expanse. Formed by the movement of glaciers, slightly over half of the park is covered by ice. The rest is loaded with wildlife.
More about Kenai Fjords NP here.
Land mammals here include wolves, bears, moose; marine mammals include humpback whales and orcas, sea otters, sea lions, porpoises and dolphins; birds include puffins, murres, and bald eagles.
Visitors to this area enjoy kayaking, hiking, boating, fishing, and wildlife viewing to name just a few activities. And in a land so far north, the days remain light until midnight–that leaves a lot of daylight for adventuring.
In Seward, one of the larger cities on the Peninsula, we enjoyed a day trip boat cruise where we saw glaciers and many species of mammals and birds.
Even though it was August, we were in an arctic world, so the closer we got to the glacier, the colder it became. Then the excitement began when we heard the thunder of the glacier calving, or breaking off. Huge chunks of ice dramatically tumbled into the deep blue waters.
Majestic mountains and wildlife at every turn, in a world where the sun never sets — it’s incredible.
Photo credit: Athena Alexander