It’s amazing to see Alaska’s stunning beauty and vastness. They say everything in Texas is big – well everything in Alaska is huge!!
Summertime vacations sure bring back memories for me. We usually stayed fairly close to home, in adult terms, yet in a child’s eye it took eons to get there. Our favorite place was called Indian Lake and it was about a four or five hour drive from my home. We did this vacation for many years and only once went all the way to Florida. My brother and I thought we were going to grow old and die on that trip!!
My point being, my youngest is 8 and he has now had the opportunity to “fly”, not “drive” clear across the country to a place I never thought I would ever be able to see, Alaska. My how things have changed.
For those of you thinking about a trip to Alaska, I recommend you look into the tours that are available if you like to sit back and relax and let someone else do the driving. For us, it was better to have the flexibility of having our own car and doing the exploring on our own.
Our trip started in Anchorage where we landed at about 7:30pm, Anchorage time. Our time, 11:30pm. Needless to say that after more than 8 hours of flying, we were ready to crash! However, the sun was still up….it never really goes down at this time of the year. Fortunately the hotel had blackout draperies and we were so tired we could have slept under spotlights by that time.
From Anchorage we drove to Seward, a sea side community were many of the cruise lines bring their ships. There are lots of rocky crags along the waters and they are traversed by these crazy dahl sheep. Talk about sure footed!
We did take several boat excursions out of this town to see orcas, humpback whales, stellar sea lions, dahl sheep, dahl porpoises, and puffins.
We also spent a night on a very small island without any electricity. It was lovely and it gave my kids something to think about. Hmmm, life with no TV puts everyone to bed at about 9:30pm! But we were tired from poking around in the snow – yes, there was still snow – and from the stone skipping contests.
This beach we were on was all skipping stones, it was marvelous.
One of the rainy days we drove to the other side of the Kenai Penninsula to a fishing village called Homer. What a great lunch of Halibut we had, did some shopping and headed back. This was about a four hour trip one way, but the wildlife was incredible. We saw a mama Moose and her baby, a small black bear, and so many bald eagle we lost count! The driving was agony on the bladder, but amazing for the soul.
Back in Seward we visited Exit Glacier and took a fabulous hike up to its edge to get some nice photos of the blue colored ice. We also learned that the perfectly shaped, brown, oval “seeds” lying around everywhere was actually moose droppings! (I have a little boy, remember, they are fascinated with….droppings!)
We next motored up to Talkeetna. May I mention here that if you need to make a pit stop more often than every three or four hours…..select the luxury bus tour with the on board facilities…..because there is nothing but pure nature in all directions for miles. We actually created a song called “Tickly Weeds” that kind of sums up how we survived.
Talkeetna was wonderful. We stayed up the street in a lodge that looked out over Mount McKinley. It was fun to get up in the middle of the night and check out the awesome view. During the day we walked the one main street of Talkeetna, stopping in the fun shops and meeting some of the local artists. We ate at the same restaurant twice because my husband fell in love with the Rhubarb Cake. (If anyone out there has a rhubarb cake recipe, I’d love to have a copy of it!)
Denali National Park
From here we also took a small plane up into Denali National Park and landed on a glacier! It was lovely and we had a fabulous view of Mt. McKinley.
My daughter thought I was dealing her a death sentence in this 10 seater plane. Afterwards she’s buying T-shirts with the airplane name on it as if she was an old pro!
Our last day we hopped a bus ride into Denali National Park, since it is the only way to actually see the park, cars are not allowed. The trip was 8 hours long and again….no facilities!!! Immediately Brittany and I are checking out the tour map…how soon does the next rest stop come up? I know that sounds ridiculous, but it did end up being something that we had to think about constantly. We were either surrounded by moose droppings or singing the Tickly Weeds song!
Then the topper was today when I sent my son to a friend’s house to play. I knew the other child’s mom would ask about our vacation. So, to give him a little practice, I asked Cameron what he did on his vacation to Alaska. He thought for a minute and said, “I don’t remember.”
Next year we’re planning a trip to our own back yard. The same memories can be made right there and there’s a bathroom within 12 feet!