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Our Alaskan Excursions


dszrew

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Just got back from our Alaskan cruise, thought I'd summarize what we did.

 

1. Vancouver--Rented a car at the airport from Avis. Drove through Stanley park. The morning of the cruise, went to Capilano suspension bridge. We were there for the opening of the cliffwalk which is actually a good addition to just the bridge. When we were there 6 years ago they only had the bridge and the treetop adventure, now there's another walkway plus the cliffwalk area which we thought was well done. Went to Lonsdale Quay for some beaver tails. Was able to drop the car downtown without fees. Avis had a shuttle to Canada Place (was planning on walking, so it was a pleasant surprise).

 

2. Ketchikan. Misty Fjords with Michelle and Island Wings. Just amazing, outstanding, etc. Landed on a lake, got to watch some eagles, great views everywhere. Very personable shuttle driver/booking assistant, etc.

 

3. Icy Strait. Did the Indian legends show. We'd seen one in Sitka several years ago. Well done for a glimpse of the indian culture. My favorite part was where each told their Indian names and ancestry, along with how the clans worked. Following that walked into town. Not much there of note other than dozens of eagles. Walked back, then walked along the beach and nature trail. Loved walking in the thick rainforest.

 

4. Juneau. Whale watching with Orca enterprises. Not too crowded on their boat. Saw a group of 5 killer whales, one breached 3 times. Saw a group of 3 humpbacks who at one point surfaced within 25 feet of the boat.

 

5. Skagway. Rented a car and drove to Carcross/Emerald Lake. Drive was underwhelming. We did a combination bus/gold panning/train tour last time so we thought we'd to the drive. If you have to choose between the train and driving, choose the train (although I think I'd still recommend the bus/train combo over just the train both ways). Saw a bear on the way up and a different one on the way down.

 

6. Seward. Rented a car for the trip to Anchorage. Not much in town. Hiked Exit glacier, well worth the 2 mi round trip hike. Would have loved to do the boat/salmon tour, but wanted to be in Anchorage shortly after noon. Most expensive car rental of the trip, but still a bit cheaper than the bus for the 4 of us.

 

7. Anchorage. Rented RV from ABC Rentals. Airport pickup, RV was ready but be prepared for it to take some time checking out. Stopped in Wasilla Walmart for supplies. Verrrry long drive to Denali (5 hrs), arrived just before 11pm. Stayed at Savage Creek campground for 2 nights. Denali was good, but with the exception of the visitor center, hiking, and the all-day bus tour into the park, not much to see. Since we were camping it was good, but if we were just driving there and wouldn't do a bus tour, not sure I'd spend the 5 hrs getting there. Still good for the R&R, also did the park sled dog presentation (short but interesting). Drove to Fairbanks for a night, went to North Pole/Santa Claus house and saw the pipeline. I won't make that drive again either unless we plan on doing more in the area (some kind of tour or at least the museum at the college). 7 hour drive back to Anchorage to drop off the RV, then home.

 

Great weather most of the time (except at Hubbard glacier, all we saw was ice soup). Overall a great trip.

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