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Trip Report Alaska – June 2017

Trip Report Alaska – June 2017

Old May 10, 18, 11:15 am
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Trip Report Alaska – June 2017

We spent about a week in Alaska last June and had an amazing time. We arrived at Anchorage on June 1st, picked up our rental car, and spent that first night at the Hyatt House Anchorage. The hotel wasn’t anything exciting – but the rooms were clean and spacious.

The following morning we got up early and drove to Talkeetna. We spent the morning walking around the picturesque little town and the Talkeetna Riverfront Park (you can get great views of Mt. McKinley from there). We had reservations for a Denali flightseeing tour with K2 Aviation that afternoon. We did the Denali Grand Tour with the glacier landing. It’s a pretty pricey tour (~$425pp), but being able to see the park and mountain range from the air and standing on a glacier surrounded by all these towering peaks was just out of this world! We would definitely recommend it.

Once the tour was over we drove towards Denali National Park and spent the night at the Denali Cabins. They were rustic little individual cabins close to the park entrance (maybe 10min away) – relatively small, but nice and comfortable. The next morning we headed into the actual park and hiked the Horseshoe Lake trail followed by the Savage River Trail. They were both great – relatively easy and with lots to see! The savage trail is a loop (sort of), but since Denali encourages off trail hiking, we kept going past the turn-around point and had the entire area to ourselves. The wilderness in this park is just incredible – we even saw a white bear (from afar) towards the end of our trail.

After Denali we drove back to Anchorage; on our way there a grizzly crossed the street right in front of our car. It was quite a sight! This time in anchorage, we checked out Cook Inlet and walked around the downtown for a bit. We spent that night at the Hilton Anchorage; the hotel was a little outdated, but the service and location were good. We had a really early wakeup call the following day and drove to Seward. We had reservations with KAW (Kayak Adventures Worldwide) for their Aialik Glacier day trip. This was a small boat tour out to the Kenai Fjords National Park followed by the chance to kayak (through floating ice chunks) all the way to the Aialik Glacier – the most actively calving tidewater glacier in the park. Again, it’s pretty pricey (~$400pp), but talk about an experience! We saw lots of whales, seals, and even a massive chunk of ice plummet into the sea below from the glacier.

While in Seward, we stayed at the Resurrection Lodge (right on Resurrection Bay). This was by far our favorite place. Not because it was fancy or luxurious, but because our room had a wall full of windows facing the bay and was practically on top of the water. From the comfort of our bed, we could (did) see whales, sea otters, and bald eagles fishing ALL day/night. I woke up around 3:30am one night, opened my eyes, and saw a couple of humpback whales breaching... all from bed… You can’t beat that!

We spent the next day around Exit Glacier, the only part of the park accessible by road. We hiked the Exit Glacier Overlook Trail and part of the Harding Icefield Trail (since it was still mostly closed). We went off trail again and made it to the toe of the glacier as well as further up one of the sides. It was crazy being able to see such a huge glacier at so close range (and scary – bc of the potential for falling ice).The dirty ice contrasted with the intense blue crevices and the snow-capped mountain range in the background was just beautiful! Late that afternoon we also went to the Alaska SeaLife Center, which was pretty informative, and had THE best meal at The Cookery (highly recommended).

The following day we headed back to Anchorage. The scenery on that drive is incredible; we enjoyed it immensely both times. Once back in town we went to Kincaid Park and did most of their groomed trails. We saw bald eagles and several moose (a huge one near the entrance). We were impressed with how nice this park was (it felt like we were deep in the woods) – considering how close it is to the city. We spent our final night at the Hyatt House Anchorage again and flew out the following day.

We absolutely loved Alaska and hope to go back as soon as possible!
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Old May 10, 18, 12:11 pm
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Thank you for sharing! I love reading reports like this because it gives us old grizzled Alaskans fresh eyes to enjoy the wonders of our state.

Glad you had a fantastic time and come back soon!
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Old May 11, 18, 9:05 am
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Great report. Thanks for sharing. Next time you need to go further into Denali NP on the bus system. Great off trail hiking there not to mention superb scenery and a greater chance to see wildlife.
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Old May 24, 18, 1:48 pm
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Thanks to the OP for posting. I've done one trip in June just a week off the solstice and besides the very long days, you also might get to see a lot of the state bird. Or at least it seemed like a lot to someone whose previous trips were all in September except for a first one in October and a miles-motivated one in April.

Am sure that regardless of the month you pick (even January) a first trip to Alaska is something memorable.
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Old Jun 22, 18, 8:18 am
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As I am prowling over the Alaska Forum for info in prep for my next trip, I gladly stumble onto this wonderful thread.

Thanks to OP for your trip report. What a memorable experience that was!
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