Here is a not so comprehensive list of our favorite places and experiences along our travels so far:
Favorite Sunset Location:
Being suckers for the magnitude of mountainous terrain we have to vote for Baldy Peak in Eagle River, Alaska. What most folks forget is that the “golden hour” of sunlight is nearly a “golden” three hours come summertime on the last frontier. Plus, if your lucky, Denali is visible on the horizon just north of the setting sun.
Favorite Single Bite of Food:
Sounds crazy but we all have one. That single scrumptious bite resonates both on the palate and in the soul. Conjuring up memories or exploding with exotic flavors, food has a magical connection to us.
Smoked Shrimp Tacos at Ruddell’s Smokehouse in Cayucos, CA. Specializing in smoked meats the smoked shrimp tacos might be the perfect blend of southern style smoky goodness and light citrus-y seafood of the California coast. Its a hole in the wall spot, but you cant beat the view!
Favorite Dining Experience:
Anazazi Steakhouse in St. George, UT – hands down our favorite dining experience thus far. Serving your favorite cut of steak or fish (the Ahi is ridiculous) on a hot stone, you get to cook the meat to your individual desire. It sounded a bit labor intensive for us considering we were there only a few hours after running an ultra-marathon, but the process is super simple and yields fantastic results.
Favorite Hike Off the Beaten Path:
Pine Creek Lake Trail outside of Yellowstone National Park – After deciding to split from Yellowstone National Park because our pooch would have had to stay shut up in the truck, we found our way to the Pine Creek Lake Trail North of the park. This is a stout 10mi. day that included a few thousand feet of climbing up to a series of glacier fed lakes. With water temperatures hovering a hair above freezing you would have to be a crazy person to cliff jump into them (Ellen). – Actually she had been here before a few years back and did the same plunge, only there was still a chunk of glacier floating out in the middle!
Favorite Trail Run with a View:
7 Peaks Loop in Eagle River, AK. – While this is not an official name for the loop most adventurous locals will know of it. Summiting 7 different peaks the path floats along two different ridges providing stunning views of both the Eagle River Valley and the Chugach Mountains. At 18mi and 9,000 vertical feet of climbing it is not for the faint of heart. Leaving from the Mile-Hi trailhead you first pass Mt. Tucker (its a a little guy so you might miss it), Mt. Magnificent, Mt. Significant, Vista Peak, Round Top, Black Tail Rocks, and finally Mt. Baldy.
Favorite Wine Tasting:
Red Soles Winery provided the best all around experience. As vinticulture novices we are bumbling idiots when it comes to deciphering the intricacies of fine wine. The folks at Red Soles are more than happy to walk you through the different tastes and types of wine they serve, and will likely even have a glass or two for themselves right along with you. The view and ambiance also makes for a wonderful romantic experience if you are searching for a more quiet contemplative experience. Oh, and the wine is tasty too!
Favorite Camping Site:
Valley of the Gods – There are few experiences as extraordinary as driving into a campsite in the bleak late hours of the night, setting up a tent with only the shifty tunnel vision a headlamp provides, only to wake up with red rock monuments and pillars reaching for the sky all around you. The hiking is limited and water is a must but there truly is something enchanting about a desert sunrise!
Favorite Tourist-y Thing To Do:
Flight-seeing anywhere in Alaska. Hands Down! Few locations allow for such immediate access to unbelievable scenery as the Anchorage, Alaska area. There are a multitude of companies to hire for your trip and you really cannot go wrong. Leave from Anchorage for a longer day or you can take the gorgeous drive up to Talkeetna and take off from there towards Denali National Park. This is an experience well worth your time and money!
More to come…
We would love to hear about your “Best-est.” Comment below to tell us all about it and hopefully we will check it out for ourselves soon!
Written by Stephen and Ellen Stockhausen