Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Fourth of July

Independence Day festivities start early in Seward, Alaska. At 12:01 AM the fireworks in Seward Harbor began and lasted about a half hour. Visually, it was much less than we experience in the lower 48. They mean well, but it's just too light.

This is about as good as it gets. There was no flash, so all that you see in the picture are with ambient light.

What was impressive was the echo of the loud bangs off the mountains that surround the harbor. There would be the immediate bang when the fireworks off, then after a few seconds we could hear the echo coming back from mountains near and far. Sound wise, the fireworks were awesome. Helen and I were back at the camper before 1:00AM.

Helen went out early to do some shopping and then returned so we could watch the Seward Mountain Marathon. Earlier in the day they had a womens mountain race and some were still coming in over three hours from the start. The mens race was a lot more professional, though I saw several men who I don't believe will finish. The race starts in down town Seward and runs up Marathon Mountain to a height of over 3000 feet! With the report of a starter's pistol, they were off, some 315 runners. We talked to a woman who climbed part way up during the week and she told us that a lot of the early "run" is actually climbing almost vertical using roots and such.

The race starts out fast, but the pace really slows as they hit the mountain.

From the start to the mountain top took about 30 to 32 minutes. The trip back down, called a controlled drop, took 12 minutes. The winner did the race in about 44 minutes. After he crossed the finish line, more racers came in one or two at a time. Some will take over three hours and a couple will have to be carried off the mountain. Earlier in the day an ambulance was summoned for the womens race.

Some of the men were scratched up pretty bad. At the top, look at the picture, they slide down the little bit of snow that's still there. It's got to take a real man because many wore silky running shorts and shoes and nothing else. We saw a number of racers with cuts and bruises from slipping on the shale.

This is a really big day for Seward with people making the annual trip from all parts of Alaska. This is a big camping weekend. The shoreline was lined up with campers side by side and most had a campfire in the rocks high on the beach. Everyone seemed to be having a grand time. For this occasion, two large cruise ships came into the port early in the morning and this small Alaskan port was really loaded with people.


  1. Looks like the fireworks would be anticlimatic when your used to a nice dark clear might. That race is really something, I don't think I could walk that dustance let alone rum it, those guys must be in terrific shape. Hope all in all you had a great 4th of July, We just nested at home with Rigg'es fater cutting up a tree that was knocked down in a storm the other day, lots of wood was cut., Be safe out there. Sam & Donna.

  2. Looks like they celebrate big there in big as you can celebrate when it's never dark! We were in a quiet state park campground and went to bed early. The only reason I remembered it was 4th of July is that I saw it posted on Facebook earlier in the day. How much longer will you be in Seward?