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For the first time in a while we didn't have to wake up early and break down camp. We have reservations at our next stop and won't need to arrive early enough to secure a campsite.

We lounged around until almost 11:00AM before getting ready to move and were lucky enough that the rain also stopped while we prepared to leave. It's a short drive today to just the other side of Turnagain Arm to the Granite Creek Campground in the Chucach National Forest.

That name may sound familiar because for the last week we've been camping in the Chugach State Park campgrounds and now we'll be spending a week in the Chugach National Forest campgrounds.

Traveling along the northern shoreline of Turnagain Arm.

Even though the rain has temporarily stopped, the clouds are still threatening more rain before the day is done. At the head of the Turnagain Arm bay the Spencer Glacier can be seen from the road.

Spencer Glacier as seen from the Seward Highway.

Once we make our way around the Turnagain Arm to the opposite side we will have arrived in the Kenai Peninsula region of Alaska. From the memories of my previous visit to Alaska in 2006 I remember it contains favorite locations of the entire trip, so for that reason we will be spending an entire month in this region, nearly a full one third of our time in Alaska

Just 12-miles from the Kenai Welcome Sign is our first stop at the Granite Creek Campground. From this location we'll be able to visit both the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and the small waterfront town of Hope, AK. Last time with only 17-days for the entire visit to Alaska we had to skip both of these locations, not this time, with 100-days to spend in the state we'll see both of these and a whole lot more.

Campsite #13 at Granite Creek Campground in Chugach National Forest.

Heading out the back of our campsite I followed a short trail ...

... that led over a dry stream bed ...

... before continuing on to the shoreline of Granite Creek.

TUESDAY - Today we've planned a trip back up the road aways to visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center near the turnoff for Whittier.

On the outside it may look like just another zoo, but this place does so much more. They take in orphaned and injured wildlife and nurse them back to health, then they adopt them and care for them the rest of their life.

For instance they have an American Bald Eagle that was shot and left for dead. The eagle had to have a severely mangled left wing amputated so now he will live out his life being taken care of at the center. Same they for an orphaned porcupine that was found abandoned during it's first few days of life. He too now lives at the center.

They also are breeding a small herd of Wood Bison here at the facility to be released into the wild to try and return the animals back into their native lands throughout Alaska.

All the animals found here are native to Alaska and some are so elusive you'll only see them here, up close and personal like. We enjoyed the few hours we spent roaming around the grounds on foot and then hopped into ROVER and drove the entire property before leaving.

You'll find our photos in the slideshow below!

WEDNESDAY - Today, if it ever stops raining, we'll venture out to go visit the town of Hope, AK (pop. 192). Winston and VerJean texted us they were there yesterday, but didn't mention what campground they were staying in. We'll see if we can find them and maybe have lunch together. It shouldn't be too hard, it's a very small town.

The turnoff for Hope is just 6-miles down Highway 1 from our campground. Then another 17-miles down the aptly named Hope Highway until you're at the end of the road in downtown Hope. After searching a few possible locations for Winston and VerJean we found them in Sea View Campground right on the shoreline of the Turnagain Arm. It was by far the best views in the city.

After chatting with them for 30-minutes we learned one very important thing, don't come to Hope on a Tuesday or Wednesday and expect to have lunch, everything is closed for these two days, even during their busy summer months.

Again, you'll find our photos in the slideshow below!

A.W.C.C. and HOPE, AK

Here is the majestic one-winged eagle I mentioned before.
Right next door was this beautiful owl, not sure of what his story was.
Nearby was the orphaned porcupine, now all grown up.
There were also a handful of adult moose to observe ...
... along with two newly arrived versions of moose like this guy.
Some of these appeared to be taking an afternoon break ...
... while others were still enjoying the free lunch.
There was also one pen filled with female elk ...
the male elk were housed in a separate nearby pen.
We have yet to see a black bear in Alaska, so this one will do for now.
There was a pen full of black tailed deer.
This one seemed rather curious about why we were looking at them.
These are muskox and we'll probably never see one of these in the wild ...
... because there are so few of them left and they are only found in the northern tundra.
Just like this pack of wolves.
At the back of the property there was this gazebo to enjoy along the Turnagain Arm shoreline.
With low hanging dense clouds our drive into Hope was dreary ...
... but these two van dwellers found a lovely shoreline to spend the day on.
This is downtown Main Street in Hope and where we found Winston and VerJean.
Most of the buildings in this area are well over 100 years old ...
... like this modest home on Main Street.
This looked like a great place to have lunch (just not on Tuesday or Wednesday).
The bar will be open, but not until 4:00PM, we can't wait that long for something to eat.
This cabin was larger than most others.
Most of them were this size.
Another final look at the Seaview Cafe before we head back to camp.
On our drive back to the campground the sun actually peeked out from behind the clouds ...
... just long enough for us to enjoy all the greenery that surrounds us.




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