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Visiting Alaska? part 2

July 3, 2010

Rafting the Copper river

Ok today we will look at a 10 day vacation to Alaska, keeping expenses in the mid range, at the same time visiting Denali NP, Valdez, Anchorage and Fairbanks. The overall focus of the vacation is to experience as much of the real Alaska as possible. At the same time our target attractions will be Denali NP, a one day nature cruse, a soak in a natural hot spring, and Halibut fishing. Keep in mind that all stops listed should be adjusted to match your desires. However I strongly suggest that the route of travel be followed to see the most of our state that is accessible by roads. If you travel this route I can assure you that you will experience a vacation that your will remember for the rest of your life.

Day 1
We start with our arrival in Anchorage where we pick up our mini RV. This RV will provide most of our overnight accommodations and will allow us to save additional money on meals. Since most flights arrive later in the day we have time to explore Anchorage and drive to our overnight accommodations just outside the city. Here we will become acquainted with our RV and call ahead to verify our other reservations. Reservations include the Denali NP shuttle, a fishing charter and a Bed & Breakfast.

Day 2
Today destination will be Denali NP 237 miles North. Our mid day, lunch time, goal will be Talkeetna, the jumping off point for those wishing to climb or fly over Mt McKinley. During the drive North we pass uncountable photo opportunities and historical landmarks. As we take the road into Talkeetna and if we are lucky enough to have a clear sky there is one hill that crest’s to reveal a magnificent view of Mt McKinley. In Talkeetna we park and walk the streets of this historic village have lunch and either a flight over the Alaskan range or do a guided fishing trip for Salmon.

After lunch we resume our drive to Denali. This section of the road has two major turnouts, (mile 134 & 162), for viewing of Denali and the mountains next to it. Also at mile 147 of the Parks highway is the Alaskan veterans memorial rest area a place of contemplation among the 20 foot high plaques honoring all veterans. We arrive in Denali at dinner time and after we have secured our RV we head out to find some local fair for dinner. After dinner we head to the Denali NP visitor center in time for sled dog demonstration and an evening film on the park. We also, again, verify our reservation on the parks shuttle bus for our trip tomorrow. A seasonal city has sprung up outside of the parks entrance and we spend the rest of the evening hours exploring.

Day 3
We head over to the parks visitor center for our 7am trip through the park. Our tour will travel 66 miles of the road to the Eielson visitor center. This will be a full day trip and we can expect to see many different animals during the trip, along with some truly breathtaking panoramas. Most shuttle drivers do a running commentary during the trip into the park, and will alert you when there is an animal to be photographed.

Day 4
We are again on the Parks Highway and today our destination is a good soak in a natural hot spring. We arrive at Chena Hot Springs and spend a few hours letting the natural hot spring sooth our bodies. Later that afternoon we head back to our Campground outside of Fairbanks. This evening we visit the Museum of the North on the campus of the University of Alaska and then later a quiet walk along the river in downtown Fairbanks.

Day 5
Today after a good breakfast we head over for a riverboat trip down the Chena river. The old riverboat takes us on a three and a half hour narrated tour of how Fairbanks came to be at the same time take a guided walking tour of the Chena Indian village. In the afternoon we are touring a working gold mine and even get to try our hand a panning for gold.

Day 6
Today we are headed down the Richardson highway, our ultimate destination is Valdez 362 miles away. On this road we will again be exposed to some of the most magnificent vistas Alaska has to offer. From Glaciers and lakes to mountains that tower above us as we drive down the road. Having the milepost at our side is a must to chose from the many stops along the road. From Historic road houses to numerous glacier viewing areas, we may have picked some stops out ahead of time but when the spirit moves us we can just pull over and explore. Our destination in Valdez is a B&B because after a long drive it all we want to do is park and enjoy the evening.

Day 7
Our host have prepared a massive and delicious breakfast and we are set for the days 9 hour cruse of Prince William sound and the two major glaciers. With a full day of wildlife viewing we finish the day with a walk though the dock’s watching the fishing charters come in with there catch.

Day 8
Today we are fishing for Halibut. Our charter will take us to a good spot and we should be able to land a nice fish. The charter will take care of everything and the next time we see the Halibut steaks will be on our BBQ back home.

Day 9
Today we travel back through Anchorage, again passing more glaciers and majestic mountain scenery on the Seward highway. Our last nights camp is South of Anchorage where we sleep at the foot of the Portage glacier.

Day 10
We wake early and head back to Anchorage to turn in our Rv and catch the flight home.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Daddy permalink*
    July 3, 2010 1:57 pm

    I can suggest that Valdez has a big hotel that was actually quite affordable, and nice. But that the 2-glacier cruise from there left me disappointed. The trip to the two big glaciers has to cross over some open water from the sea and on our trip, it was very rough.

    A more interesting alternative, that we found later, was drive to Wittier, through the single lane train tunnel, and from there you can get a glacier tour that goes to many more glaciers, and they are all in the bay, sheltered from rough seas.,+AK&gl=us&ei=rsIuTOrqBIS8lQfpkqj7CA&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&ct=image&resnum=1&ved=0CCQQ8gEwAA


  2. AussieAlaskan permalink
    July 4, 2010 7:45 pm

    I’m not good on water – I really love it, but – what a photo :-)


  3. ccrmom permalink
    August 4, 2010 3:51 am

    I have been to AK twice now, last September for 14 days, and this May/June for 14 days. I must admit that the BEST way to travel is with family who live in AK. My son and daughter in law are stationed at Ft. Wainwright, and therefore, have vehicles already in the state. We also had access to military housing at Elmendorf AFB and Wainwright. Also in Seward. When I arrived, we took the Seward Highway to Seward. We did the wildlife cruise there, and had a wonderful day. The water was not overly rough.. no seasickness on board, and we saw such wonderful sealife and glaciers. Also saw land animals on the cliffs.

    We also managed to see the beluga whales as they came in on the bore tide along the Seward Highway. We went to Whittier, and enjoyed a nice meal there, although it is NOT really a destination sight. A place to take a cruise. Portage glacier and area was WONDERful, and we saw spawning salmon there.

    Went back to Anchorage, and the next day went to Fairbanks.. a LONG day, but beautiful scenery along the Parks Highway. We stopped in Eklutna to look at the Athabaskan gravesites there. They put spirit houses on the tops of the graves, and there was information as to why/how the burials take place. Quite an interesting sight to see.

    We saw moose, porcupines etc on the way up the Parks to Denali. We took the self driving toug of the Denali road, and saw moose, arctic hare and (in September) the beautiful effect of Alpenglow, when all of the scenery is red and gold! Mt. McKinley was also completely visible.. no clouds at the top. Glorius!!

    Spent time in Fairbanks and surrounding area. Went up to the bairbaiting stand my son had 93 miles north of Fairbanks. Experienced the tundra in fall during our trip up the Dalton Hwy to Coldfoot. Saw 41 different animals during my 14 days there.

    We took the Richardson to Delta Junction where it crossed the Alaska Highway on the way back to Anchorage on my last day. We got to Glenallen, and took the Highway to Wrangell St. Elias National Park.. then went to Copper Center, where the kids had fished earlier in the year. Got back onto the Glenallen Highway, and saw the Matanuska Glacier and all of that wonderful scemery all the way to Anchorage..

    Alaska is the definition of AWESOME… not the word the kids use today, the true meaning of the word.

    I saw so much, was priviledged to experience so much.. I will never forget it. It was the dream of a lifetime fulfilled.

    Thank you for allowing us to view your blog, and vicariously “live” your life.


    • August 6, 2010 2:21 pm

      Dear ccrmom,
      I am sorry for the delay in replying to your wonderful description of your visit to Alaska. You were indeed very fortunate in all you did and observed. You are one of the fortunate few who truly get to do it all.

      Like the many places and events that during my life were truly memorable, I know the ‘perfect’ moments and events of that trip with be with you the rest of your life.


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