Flutterby™! : lookin' for adventure

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lookin' for adventure

2005-04-03 21:06:17.348381+00 by Dan Lyke 10 comments

Okay, all of you world travelers, how about some suggestions on a visit to Alaska, the week of August 13th this year? Gotchas on cruise packages? Things not to be missed? Wants: lots of whales and wildlife and cool views.

And for the rest of you, some images from an overcast hike this morning:

[ related topics: Photography Nature and environment Archival Dan & Charlene's 2005 Alaska Trip Alaska ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-03 21:44:49.995113+00 by: Dan Lyke

White Pass & Yukon Route railway leaves from Skagway and has half day diesel and full day steam rail excursions.

This package looks like the sorts of things we're looking for, substitute the bear watching for the salmon fishing.

Hmmm... Flying into Fairbanks, then getting down to Seward and doing the Kenai Fjords Catamaran Cruise for several days straight then getting one day up at Portage Glacier sounds like fun.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-03 23:46:27.272424+00 by: Dori

We've done the half-day WP&YR trip twice (thank you, Geek Cruises!). It's absolutely worth doing... once.

We also took a helicopter ride from Juneau to see Mendenhall Glacier, which is simply amazing. Here's the view -- and then you get to walk around on the glacier. It's not cheap, but it's stunning and it's worth it.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-04 03:12:02.818931+00 by: Dan Lyke

I think this is just barely out of our price range for this trip, but for not a whole lot more than a mid-sized cruiser you can be one of six guests on the Home Shore for what look like some absolutely kick-ass adventures. Damn, that one makes me salivate.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-04 03:46:14.713411+00 by: Dan Lyke

Just trying to clear out a few tens of open browser tabs:

There are a boatload (sorry) of small boat charters that aren't that much more expensive than many of the upper end cruise ships, especially the smaller cruise ships.

I think we're tending towards the Juneau end of things, but if we end up near Anchorage/Seward, then there are some cool sea kayaking trips at http://www.alaskasummer.com/

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-04 11:44:15.332319+00 by: meuon

Hopefully Nancy will comment later today.. As an Alaskan, she has unique insight on this topic.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-04 12:04:34.043076+00 by: petronius

We took the cruise route a few years back for the 25th anniv. Not being terribly athletic we opted for more bus or boat oriented side trips. However, when the ship docked in Skagway we took one very nice trip. First, the indian-owned jet-boat ferry to Hanes, with casual whale breachings along the way. At Haneswe joined a nature walk that bussed us to a state park and we walked in the muskeg swamp. We also saw some bears, lots of eagles, etc. The best part was taliing to the Alakans, like the lady with the 3-legged dog, and the naturalist who was also the news director of the local NPR station. I looked up her website later and learned of her joing Russian-American saliling expedition that got dismasted in a typhoon. Happily they were rescued by a Korean container ship. Adventure is never very far away.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-04 15:04:45.801927+00 by: Nancy

As an Alaskan(-turned-southerner), I haven't done a lot of the tourist-y things. But I have family there (Anchorage and Fairbanks) who love company and showing people around. My parents have a great "cabin", now a bonifide house, on Ida Lake with fishing and relaxation guaranteed. My uncle is a private pilot (recreationally) and another uncle and aunt are hard core bicyclists. I'd be happy to give you contact information, or send an introductory email, off list. The only thing you have to promise is that you refer to the cabin only as "my cabin" (as in "Nancy's"). It drives my dad insane. And don't tell him I told you so.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-04 20:55:41.85101+00 by: jeff [edit history]

You are bringing back memories of my two-week backpacking trip to Alaska, BC and the Yukon Territories in 1995. If you can make the drive up the Dalton Highway, Denali National Park should obviously be a stop, and the Brooks Range farther to the north. That was as far north as we traveled, stopping along the way at Coldfoot, which at the time held the record for the highest temperature swing in the US (-82, +97).

The Kenai Peninsula has TONS of glaciers and waterfalls; it's an incredibly lush area. Homer and Seward are both pretty cool fishing towns, and we took a tour of one of the glacier bays (can't remember the name right now). If I go back, I'd like to see Katmai National Park (Land of the thousand smokes).

If you're able to get to the Yukon Territories, Dawson City will bring back images of the true west with its dirt streets and saloon atmosphere. The Yukon capital, Whitehorse, is a nice artsy town of about 30,000 next to the Yukon River, which has the most incredible aquamarine color at that location. In 1995, I believe the entire population of the Yukon was less than 50,000 folks, with a size similar to California?

I would say the highhight of my trip was camping in Wrangell-Elias National Park, where 9 of the highest 16 mountains in North America are found. We slept next to a glacier, and spent most of one day hiking it. In order to get there, we had to reach the tiny town of McCarthy by pulling ourselves across the speedy and icy Kennicott River by a primitive (and very dangerous) hand-drawn tram, and then hitching a ride with a local to the abandoned Kennicott Copper mine, which was about a mile from the glacier. McCarthy and that area was only accessible via the afforementioned river crossing and by aircraft. We also chartered a small plane for 2 hours while there, and our Australian woman pilot was a hoot. Very, very cool. That was an experience!

I've taken the Skagway/Haines express Ferry, and that was fun. I'd like to do a cruise along the inner passage, and it sounds like that is what you're going to do. It will be an awesome experience. Enjoy, Dan!

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-05 02:24:09.094499+00 by: Dan Lyke

Nancy, I think we're somewhat sold on the Juneau area (for the humpback whales), but I'll be emailing shortly.

To make sure I still have it in one place:

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-06 06:13:55.615304+00 by: Dan Lyke

Not for this trip, but if you're not lucky enough to ingratiate yourself with Nancy's parents you can rent U.S. Forest service cabins in Chugach National Forest or or USFS cabins in Tongass National Forest for $25-45 a night, bring your own fuel for the heaters.

Skookumchuck charters is another small touring really pretty sailboat. And Family Charters is the least expensive of the ones I've run into, oriented a little less towards the things we're looking for, but a resource worth noting.