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Alaska Ideas??
Old 02-22-2005, 07:25 AM   #1
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Alaska Ideas??

Hubby and I have an open invitation to stay at a friend's vacation home in Alaska this summer/fall. We are currently looking at the last two weeks in Aug along with the first two weeks in Sept. We'll be located about one hr north of Anchorage.
We plan on visiting Denali Nat'l Park for some hiking. We also want to do some fishing. And maybe some type of expedition cruise to view glaciers/wildlife. Our host has a float plane and we'll get some sightseeing in too.
Any other suggestions??
I plan on splurging a little (this vacation is my retirement gift to hubby) but I also always look for a bargain if possible.
TIA

kz
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Re: Alaska Ideas??
Old 02-22-2005, 06:18 PM   #2
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Re: Alaska Ideas??

Alaska Ideas:

1. Rent a forest service cabin in a remote location.
2. Go sea kayaking on Prince William Sound (out of Cordova).
3. Consider a trip on the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry.
4. Camp at Wonder Lake in Denali.

Have Fun!

Mountain_Man
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Re: Alaska Ideas??
Old 02-22-2005, 06:43 PM   #3
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Re: Alaska Ideas??

Also kayak on a glacier-fed lake when the salmon are running and the eagles are feasting.
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Re: Alaska Ideas??
Old 02-23-2005, 05:10 AM   #4
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Re: Alaska Ideas??

The kayaking sounds wonderful. Definitely going to do that. And the Alaska Highway Ferry.
How do I go about renting a forest service cabin, Mountain_Man??
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Re: Alaska Ideas??
Old 02-23-2005, 05:52 AM   #5
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Re: Alaska Ideas??

We were in Alaska in late August this past year. We were told that by mid September the mountains would be snow covered. You might want to go a bit earlier in the year unless you like cold and snow.

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Re: Alaska Ideas??
Old 02-23-2005, 10:04 AM   #6
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Re: Alaska Ideas??

We actually DO like cold and snow. One of the reasons why we're going late in the summer. The other---we hate crowds.
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Re: Alaska Ideas??
Old 02-24-2005, 05:16 AM   #7
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Re: Alaska Ideas??

Thanks, Cut-Throat, for your response. We're trying to avoid the kids by going later in the summer. Not that we don't like kids--have a couple of our own but they're grown and gone. Now it's time for the two of us.

We're not interested in a cruise at this time since we have a home to stay at but we may be down the line.

We think we're going to fly into Seattle and stay there for a few days and then hop on over to Anchorage.

And if everything goes well we'll probably rent the house next year and 5-8 relatives will join us for a week at a time.
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Re: Alaska Ideas??
Old 02-24-2005, 11:00 AM   #8
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Re: Alaska Ideas??

http://bigmoney.gotdns.com/old-swb-s...aska/pics1.htm

There's a place called Thunderbird Falls near your friend where you hike back a ways to see the falls. Definitely see Denali park. Earthquake park in Anchorage might be interesting.

Be sure to see Portage glacier--take Seward Highway south of Anchorage a ways. If you can make it to Seward you can take a half-day "cruise" around the bay and see lots and lots of eagles, puffins, sea lions and such. The Anchorage zoo is a nice visit; all of the animals are either injured or overflow from other zoos; they try to rehabilitate the animals and return them to the wild, so the animals rotate a lot.

You may be there while the state fair is going, and it will be in your area. Definitely go there if it's on. Browse the agriculture shows and see huge veggies.

We used to take a trip on the Whittier ferry. I was a kid, so my details may be fuzzed up, but we drove the car onto the train carrier towards Portage glacier from Anchorage then rode the train to Whittier and put the car on the ferry. It goes along a lot of glaciers and they used to let kids sound the horn and knock some ice off. We saw killer whales on our ferry trip, but that's fairly rare. I believe the ferry winds up its trip in Seward where you can drive back to Palmer.

Homer is a bit far, but as a kid I enjoyed seeing the 200-lb halibut being brought in.

Somewhere in the vicinity of Thunderbird falls is a series of beaver dams; I don't think they are marked, but if you know how to find them I found it enjoyable to hike back there and watch the beavers toil away.

The big ski areas are Alyeska (S from Anchorage) and Arctic Valley (N of Anchorage). I never really cared to go there when there's no snow, but I understand they run a lift or two, and you can ride up to the top and look around and ride back down. Come to think of it Alyeska has a gondola now from the new (to me) resort hotel to the restaurant up the mountain.

If you're active, there is a bike trail that runs along the coastline from downtown to a park. I saw several moose on that ride, but you'll probably see moose everywhere.

Do hike around one of the creeks or rivers; Bird creek is nice and near Anchorage, but there are rivers freakin' everywhere.

Well, that's a start, anyway. It's hard to go wrong in Alaska. The Arctic Roadrunner has good burgers in Anchorage, and Gwenny's is a nice place to eat.

Take your camera and lots of film/storage.
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Re: Alaska Ideas??
Old 02-25-2005, 04:39 PM   #9
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Re: Alaska Ideas??

I lived and worked in Anchorage for about 1.5 years in 2001-2002. You can drive your car now through the train tunnel to Whittier - no more putting it on the train. A Prince William Sound glacier cruise is definitely worth the time and the very best of all the glacier cruises is called Phillips 26 or something like that. They run 300 person catamarans that go fast between the glaciers so that you spend more of your time at the glaciers than getting there. And it's called 26 because you get to see 26 glaciers (in theory at least).

It's also worthwhile going up the gondola at Alyeska to the restaurant on top of the mountain. A very good view from up there and the food is good. Spend late afternoon and evening there. Alyeska is about one hour south of Anchorage on the Seward Highway.... the same highway to take you to Portage Glacier and Whittier.

As far as beautiful scenery goes, the best is around Anchorage, south of Anchorage and Denali Nat'l Park. the highway past Palmer towards Valdez is quite scenic too.

A great thing to do is to catch the railroad out of Skagway to the Canadian border along the path the gold miners took to get to the Dawson gold rush. But that is quite a long ways out the way from the Anchorage area. It is not worth it unless you have lots of time. Going to Juneau is a bore for the most part.
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Re: Alaska Ideas??
Old 02-25-2005, 07:11 PM   #10
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Re: Alaska Ideas??

kz

Try this:

http://www.fs.fed.us/r10/tongass/rec...abin_info.html

We rented a cabin that we had to charter a float plane to get to -but it was fantastic! You can do it when you get there. Just be friendly with the Ranger person and they can make some great suggestions.

You are truly out in the wilderness. The cost of the plane for us was far more than the cost of the cabin.

A funny story - the pilot who dropped us off said that once he dropped someone off at one of these remote locations and as he did his fly by he looked down and saw the gentlemen that he dropped off squirming in pain on the ground below. He landed again to offer help. It turns out the guy had looked at a can of "Bear Repellant", which is basically like heavy duty mace. He had sprayed himself thinking it was like Off for mosquitos.

When they leave you and say they will be back to get you in X days - you are truly out in the wilderness. We opted for an area with lots of streams and lakes and hence lots of big bears. Made for lots of excitement. The cabins are bear-proof.

I had a trout on every cast in one stream and some of the best day hikes ever.

Have fun!!

Mountain_Man

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Re: Alaska Ideas??
Old 03-05-2005, 05:53 PM   #11
 
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Re: Alaska Ideas??

*Rent a kayak in Seward and kayak down to Caine's Head. You can also hike there (but you can't drive). In either case, bring a tide guide as the hiking trail is often along the beach and it's hard to kayak against the tide.

*Drive the road to Kennicott in Wrangell. It used to be a railroad so spikes often come up in the rains - bring a spare and food and water since services aren't really available. There are some cool hotels there and you can camp along the glacier north of town or along the river.

Though car rental agencies disallow use on this road, most of the cars at the end were rentals.

*More cabins for rent: http://www.dnr.state.ak.us/parks/cabins/index.htm

Nancy Lake has some cabins that are only accessible by canoe, which you can rent. Some of the cabins are on islands.

*It snowed on us in mid-August in Denali. Be prepared.
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Re: Alaska Ideas??
Old 03-08-2005, 10:39 AM   #12
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Re: Alaska Ideas??

Wow....thanks for all the responses. Looks like we'll have lots and lots to think about.


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