My husband, John, and I flew out of Detroit headed for Anchorage with our son, Mike, and grandson Dane. We had booked a motor home and it was waiting for us when we landed. If you like camping, or can just endure it, then that is the way to see Alaska. You always have your wheels and your bed, and you can cook whatever and whenever you desire. It was awesome!
Our first major attraction was Denali National Park and Preserve. We camped right in the park for two nights. We took a one-day trip into the park riding on an old school bus for about 12 hours. The only way to get way into the park anymore is to ride one of the park's vehicles. It was great in that there were not long lines of cars plugging the roads.
The bus drivers instructed us to be very quiet and calm when we saw wildlife. They want the animals to be able to experience life as it should be without throngs of people surrounding them. Some of the many animals we saw that day included: a brown bear and her cub, grizzlies, bald eagles, beavers, fox, caribou, dull sheep, and many birds.
From there we headed north to Fairbanks. While in Fairbanks we were able to experience 40 degrees below zero! Yes, now that was cold! They gave us parkas, gloves and a glass of water and led us into a cooler. When we got in there, we threw the water in the air and it was instant ice cubes. Pretty amazing, and to think we even paid to be cold!
Traveling in that area we were able to get many glimpses of the Alaska Pipeline. It was interesting to see where our fuel comes from.
The next few days were spent traveling back south through farming area. Since we also own a farm we found this interesting. We were one day too early for the Alaska State Fair. But reading in the newspapers we found that their big draw was the largest head of cabbage. The big winner usually exceeds 100 pounds, now that is a bunch of cold slaw!
Our next destination was Seward in the Kenai Peninsula. It was from here that we took our day cruise to the Kenai Fjords National Park. We love touring national parks and this was our second one on this trip. But the day of our cruise was very gray and cold. The water was a little rough, rough enough to upset John’s stomach and nearly ruin his experience.
The sights and sounds of the Kenai Fjords are almost impossible to describe. It was a wonderful trip! We saw many different animals and our captain told us that the whale we saw gave us the best tail flapping show of the season. I believe it, it was beautiful! Probably the highlight of the cruise for me was the glacier. The captain of the boat took us out to the glacier, turned off the engines and let us sit there for about 30 minutes. It was like being in a thunderstorm. I heard claps that were ice chunks breaking off. Words just cannot fully describe the experience.
I am sure the highlight of the trip for our son was the halibut fishing trip that he took out of Homer. He caught two halibuts: a 20- and a 50-pounder, which netted him about 40 pounds of fillets for the trip home. While he was out fishing that day we entertained our grandson by taking in a couple of museums in Homer. We also came across a Farmer’s Market. We were able to get some locally grown fresh veggies and some very good cinnamon rolls. It also helped us to learn more about the local agriculture.
We were in Alaska for two weeks, which is not really enough time to see everything. We took in many different things, but there is still so much more to see. Like I said in the beginning, this trip was a trip of a lifetime, but I would go back in a heartbeat! Words and pictures do not do justice to all the beautiful scenery that beholds the traveler to our 49th state.