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Long time reader, but I haven't posted until now. We are doing an Alaska cruise in early August and have a couple of questions.
1) In Ketchikan we are interested in seeing both Totem Bight and Saxman Village since my wife is a history teacher and very interested in first nations history. Is it possible to do both in one day and how easy is it to do? We are in port from 1pm till 8pm and aren't adverse to exploring on our own
2) We're also going to Denali and are thinking about a helicopter tour to (hopefully) see the mountain. We're wondering how often these tours are cancelled due to bad weather.
Thanks for any help and advice that will be offered
We easily did both in a day, with a car. Even if you spend a fair bit of time looking at an interpreting the totem poles at Totem Bight, you won't need more than a couple of hours.
We did a small airplane tour of Denali (Mt. McKinley), which was an unforgetable highlight of our Alaska visit. I'm not sure how often they're cancelled, but I would wonder if planes might be able to go when helicopters can't. I don't know...just thinking there may possibly be a difference. I'm also not sure if helicopters can go all the way to the summit (we had to use oxygen as we ascended). If not, the bush plane tour we did went above the top of the mountain, and it was just spectacular. Something to consider, if helicopters only go part-way up.
We have done both in a day but with the time limits you have it will be tight particularly if your DW wants to spend any amount of time at them. If you decide to choose only one then I would recommend Totem Bight. If you were to rent a car then both would be possible.
I would suggest you rent a car and then it would be easy to include both sites. But your wife may also be interested in the Totem Heritage Museum? (offers authentic totems, with preservation the priority) I do find Saxman better with a tour. With Totem Bight, print out and take the totem guide with you. Another, option involving time, is Potlatch Park, which is another native attraction.
I've used Alaska Car Rental, when they used to pick up at the dock, but verify dock pick up/drop off with any company you consider.