May 26, 2016
Our original plan was to take the train to Seward the day of the cruise. There is a free shuttle that runs to the cruise port and the train arrives with plenty of time to spare. Unfortunately, when we booked the train tickets the day of the cruise had already sold out. The train is an extremely popular way to get to Seward (and my personal favorite!) so that was not too surprising. We still wanted to take the train, so we booked tickets for the day before the cruise as well as a night at a hotel in Seward.
This was our second train ride to Seward, but there was still so much to see. We had some amazing views of the glaciers and even spotted a few moose and bears. We opted for the standard seats, although I do highly recommend the Goldstar Dome if you are able to book it. The train ride itself lasted around 4 hours and we were able to purchase a meal in the dining car which was a great way to start off the day.
Once we arrived in Seward and dropped our bags off at the hotel, we met our shuttle to Exit Glacier. Exit Glacier is only a 15 minute drive outside of Seward, but if you don’t have a car handy there are a number of shuttle services you can pre-book for the round trip drive. The “Edge of the Glacier Trail”, also known as the Lower Trail, is just a 20 minute walk from the parking area. This trail is accessible to people of all fitness levels and is even handicap accessible. The trail leads right up to the glacier through a forest and along a river.
There is a second trail available for more adventurous hikers called the Harding Icefield Trail. We opted not to take this trail as it climbs 3,500 feet over four and a half miles one way, but it is an option for those in good shape.
After we finished our hike of Exit Glacier, we returned to Seward and went to Seward Park, the location of the Iditarod Mile 0 mile marker. This marked the location where the famed 1925 serum run started. If you are familiar with the story of Balto, this is the real life starting point of that epic tale. In 1925 the medicine needed to treat diphtheria was delivered to the port of Seward, and then taken by 20 dog sled teams 674 miles to Nome.
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