Alaska Adventure Sept 2013

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 Day 8

Today was an exciting day since we drove from Hotel Alyeska to Whittier and was to experience a narrow tunnel in the mountain that is one way to reach Whittier, Alaska.  They time the one-ways on the hour to let tourists and residents in/out of Whittier.  I was told the digging out of the tunnel was amazing since two teams began the job and when they meet halfway were only off by 6 inches! 

When we arrive into Whittier it was howling with white caps on the Prince William Sound and our boat was small, only 22 passengers.  Lazy Otter Charters was wonderful and we had a great captain, Captain Mike, owner of the charters with shipmate, Debbie, that both did a great job.  It turned out to be smooth sailing and we looked for wildlife and glaciers.  Another sunny day and we had a great time with a delicious lunch onboard.  Best item for lunch??  Smoked salmon spread on bagels along with sandwiches, cookies, ships and drinks.    Journey thru the tunnel just in time brought us to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center with our private tour guide, Scott.   Here you can drive around the center to view the animals or leisurely walk from area to area.   Animals roam freely in very large enclosures from bears, caribou, musk ox, moose and bisson.  This is a wonderful place to explore and a worthwhile visit from Anchorage.

Alaska Adventure Sept 2013

 Alaska Fall FAM

Alaska Fall FAM

Day 7 

Another early morning as we drove from Anchorage to Girdwood for about 2hrs by Turnagain Arm, a very scenic drive hoping to spot Beluga Whales, no luck.

Our tour begins with the Pinzguaer that is a unique vehicle that goes off-road and into the mountains & mines.  We went to Crow Creek Mine that offers gold-panning during the summer months and weddings on the weekends,  a very pretty location.  Today our stay for the night and lunch is at Hotel Alyeska; favorite ski resort for Anchorage Residents.  I elected to go on the Winner Creek Gorge guided tour and as told it was a moderate hike for a few hours.  Well, four hours later and very sore I managed to complete the hike, a proud moment!  The fun element was the gorge and hand-tram basket that I rode over the deep gorge.  Did I look down?  Yes, you bet I did!

Alaska Adventure Sept 2013

AWE Fall FAM

 

 

Day 6

 

Early morning with the group to the popular breakfast diner, Snow City Café, and of course it was salmon cakes for breakfast!  The Alaskan Museum was a wonderful way to spend the morning and it features all the tribes of Alaska and rotating exhibits of all types of art.  Delightful lunch at Muse at the Museum allow museum goers to taste one of the local chefs fine cuisine without venturing outside.  Early afternoon we drove to the Rust’s Flying Service for a great adventure of 3hrs to view Mt McKinley or correctly named “Denali”.    Denali means “the High One” for Athabascan Indians north of the Alaska Range. Strapped in and praying all would be fine, we departed, soared and view the majestic mountains of Denali.  As a surprise we also landed on a glacier lake, all alone, and walked the glacier beach.  It was a wonderful experience to remember and a highly recommended way to see the mountains.  Our tour didn’t end since we were off to the Alaska Zoo, just outside of downtown Anchorage, where you can secure a free shuttle to the zoo.  Here many animals are rescued and exhibited naturally.  By late afternoon the group was hungry and we were treated to the Glacier Brewhouse for another wonderful meal, salmon burgers!

Alaska Adventure Sept 2013

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Day 5 

A beautiful day in the Alaskan City of Anchorage began with breakfast at Sizzlin’ Café, next door to the Sheraton Anchorage Hotel.  Very friendly staff, quick service and amazing eggs Benedict with smoked salmon.  Here is the destination for salmon lovers!  Alaska serves many different types of salmon and for breakfast it is no exception.

Then the fun begins with Salmon Berry Tours for a scenic city tour and chocolate tour with tour guide, Brett.  We visited Flattop Mountain for the views of the city, sample chocolate truffles and embraced liquid silk, a yummy hot chocolate drink.  We learned many Alaskans own a seaplane or floatplane.  We visited some of the locations of the 1964 earthquake.  Tonight we dine as locals at the Bears Tooth Theatre for great food and off to Chilkoot Charles for drinks and a visit to the “Birds Nest”. 

Alaska Adventure Sept 2013

ImageDay 4

 

Unfortunately the last day at DenaliNational Park was the day it rain, shall I say poured all day.  The sled dog tour to see puppies was canceled and I spent the morning  working from our cozy log cabin with time to purchase a lunch for our motorcoach ride back to Anchorage.   Early evening check into the Sheraton Anchorage with modern rooms and convent location.  Also good locations are the Westmark, Hilton, and Captain Cook Hotels.  Tonight a short walk to Humpys’, very popular place with the locals, where the burgers are big and the place serves over 49 different types of beer.  My selection was a raspberry/hard apple beer, very tasty.

Alaska Adventure Sept 2013

Grand Denali Hotel

Day 2 

It is an early morning as we depart with Alaska Travel n Tours for the 5 hr trip to Denali.

Luckily the motorcoach departs from the AlaskaConvention Center and across the street is a charming coffee shop, Bean Roost, that offers various coffees and delicious caramels to ease the long road trip to Denali.  Alaska Travel n Tours operates nice clean motorcoachs, provides bottle water and snacks for the drive.  Since it continues to rain the early morning scenery is limited but we are awarded with moments of sunshine as we head out of the city into the mountains. 

 We arrive to Denali Cabins and settle into our cabin #34 to find comfortable two beds, heat and bathroom in a rustic cabin setting.  A good value and accommodations just 15 minutes away fro the DenaliVisitorCenter with free shuttle service.  Leaving our luggage and heading our immediately time was spent at the VisitorCenter viewing a  20 minutes movie on the national park and then off for a short hike in the mountains.  

Still plenty of daylight left time to visit Denali Grand Hotel and meet with the new sales manager, Dee Dee, to learn what is new at this popular resort on Sugarloaf Mountain.  Beautiful rooms with planned upgrades for 2014, maybe mini-frigs in each room?  Staff was very friendly and the views from this hotel were amazing!  To top of the day, dinner was planned at the Denali Grand Hotel and was the one of the best meals in Alaska at Alpenglow.  Seafood bisque and fresh halibut over steamed vegetables topped with a mango chutney.  Chef Jacob continues to serve amazing entrees however skip the desserts and enjoy a wonderful cocktail with a sunset view from this hotel.

 

Alaska Adventure Sept 2013

Day 1

I start my journey from Boston to Alaska with connection service via Dallas. I begin to wonder if others feel it is worth the long distance to travel to this state, our 49th state of the U.S   Upon arrival it is rainy in Anchorage and  so it begins “travelers must be prepared for rain with layer clothing and cool temperatures in the 50’s”.   First night layover is at the Historical Anchorage Hotel, a charming hotel near the train and close to shops.  Large rooms, a bit old, however friendly staff and an amazing free breakfast make this a good value.  Time to get some sleep before heading out tomorrow to Denali National Park.Image