Tuesday, July 08, 2008


From Alaska Trip J...
Got back on Sunday from a wild and wonderful first-ever trip to Alaska. The wildlife was plentiful, the scenery breath-taking (literally, for me, when we got to Skilak Lake), and great fun was had by all. My tour group, lead by intrepid Alaskan Waldo, was pretty awesome. We hiked, camped, golfed under the midnight sun, and set off fireworks on the 4th of July (made somewhat lackluster by the absence of any contrast with the sky).

The picture above is from one of our more exciting experiences: a very close run-in with a bear sow and her two cubs. That's my tent in the picture. Click on the picture for a link to my photo album, which includes many other awesome shots (that still somehow don't convey exactly how awesome Alaska is).

Here's a brief itinerary of the trip to accompany the viewing of the photos:

Day 1 (Sunday, June 29): Drive from Anchorage to the Kenai Peninsula. Stop at Portage Glacier in Chugach National Forest (which just now I learned is "Alaska's most visited tourist attraction"!). Set up camp on Hidden Lake.

Day 2: Two hikes in the morning, one to Kenai River and one to Skilak Lake (where we skipped rocks). Canoeing and bear run-in in the afternoon.

Day 3: Drive up to Seward, boat tour of the Kenai Fjords (glaciers! orcas! humpbacks!), dinner in Seward.

Day 4: Loooooooong drive up to Denali via Anchorage. Awe-inspiring views of the Alaska Range, including Mt. McKinley. Apparently it is extraordinarily rare to see them as clearly as we did - they are (especially Mt. McKinley) almost always covered with clouds.

Day 5: In Denali National Park on the bus system (the only way to access the park). Hopped on and off for two hikes at Polychrome Mountain and Toklat River. Game of midnight golf from 10 pm - 1:30 am.

Day 6: Fourth of July! Big hike up Mt. Healy at the edge of Denali NP. Fireworks show at 11:20 pm.

Day 7: Sad last day. Brief hike down to Horseshoe Lake (unfortunately no moose to be found) and then a drive back to Anchorage. Incredibly long wait at the Anchorage airport, but at least the Chili's served Alaskan.