Aug 26, 2010 at 10:21 am #1262653
My wife and I will be celebrating our 20 wedding aniversary in a couple of years and have decided we'd like to go to Alaska.
So if you had 2 weeks to do a once-in-a-lifetime Alaska tour, what would you do?
I definately want some backpacking, but don't want to completely limit myself to just that. Would also love somtime in the great NPs there, but would forgo some to the get more in-depth in some others, or see some of the jewels not in a NP.Aug 26, 2010 at 10:57 am #1640655
@acrosomeLocale: Back in the Front Range
Wow. I'd definitely include kayaking in Glacier Bay NP. Heck, you could kill the whole two weeks there, easily. But boat camping is just as fun as backpacking camping, and a nice change of pace. There are tour boats that will take you up the bay to interesting spots, so that you don't waste days just paddling up the arms.
There are many other intersting parks in alaska, obviously, but I know the most about Glacier Bay, as I've been studying it on and off for almost a decade until I can actually get a chance to go there.Aug 26, 2010 at 11:08 am #1640660
There are a ton of places to go in Alaska, and just as many opinions on which are the best spots to go. I worked as a guide on a small ship in Southeast AK through the Aleutians and Bering Sea, and also spent time running a private boat in the region. I've also spent a lot of time on land throughout that stretch.
If you're looking to get the broadest possible experience in Alaska within a 2-week period, the key will be limiting your travel time between regions. To do that, what I would recommend is taking half your time and heading up to Denali to do some backpacking, and the other half go kayaking in the Prince WIlliam Sound region. You can get a boat to shuttle you in and pick you back up through Whittier, which would allow you to fly in and out of Anchorage. This will give you the experiences of Denali (wildlife, views, etc) plus the contrasting but significant aquatic aspect of AK (glaciers, whales, orca, bears, etc).
If you don't have your heart set on Denali (and it is amazing, but I depending on what you want to see if may not be at the top of the priority list for Alaska), there are other regions to consider, such as the east arm of Glacier Bay or the Haines area, among many other good options. Feel free to shoot me a PM if you have questions.Aug 26, 2010 at 12:49 pm #1640688
@umnakLocale: Southeast Alaska
As an avid ( read obsessed – my wife and I paddle around 1000-1200 miles a summer) kayaker in Southeast Alaska I would argue strongly against paddling in Glacier Bay (GB) if you are an independent traveler. Just getting to Gustavus with a kayak is difficult unless you paddle from Juneau. Once there, the restrictions as to where and when you can kayak and camp are a lot more intrusive than anyplace else along the Inside Passage or the Lost Coast. It is also a lot more crowded. And I know that crowded is a relative term, but there are a lot of cruise ships in GB. My wife also claims that it is colder and wetter than other areas, and I think that she is correct.
Alternatives out of Juneau or Petersburg can include glaciers and what we call surf and turf trips, which combine paddling with backpacking. Throw in Sitka and you lose the glaciers but gain the outer coast. A classic surf and turf out of Juneau is Admiralty Island’s Glass Peninsula and the cross Admiralty portage from Mole Harbor to Angoon – a kayak and packraft trip that would take 8-10 days. Something less adventurous would be to paddle from Juneau to Skagway and then hike the Chilkoot Trail, though that would be as crowded as GB.Aug 27, 2010 at 1:07 pm #1641027
My wife and I have never done any kayaking (sea or regular), and she's not that high on wearing a wetsuit in public (???). Should I get a guided tour, if I could convince her to do it?
I'd planned a trip last year to Denali that unfort fell thru, so I'm aware of its wonders. What about the other parks, hut/cabin rentals, fishing, that cool looking glass topped train the cruise ship folks ride, etc?Aug 27, 2010 at 1:16 pm #1641030
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Katmai National Park.
That includes the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, Brooks Camp, and a zillion brown bears.
Before you sell that idea to the wife, do not let her hear the name "Timothy Treadwell."
–B.G.–Aug 27, 2010 at 1:32 pm #1641040
Even though it shouldn't, that name gives me the creeps.Aug 27, 2010 at 1:57 pm #1641052
Holy Crap. I googled it. Definately not goin' to confuse Katmai NP w/ a petting zoo.Aug 27, 2010 at 1:59 pm #1641053
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Timothy was misunderstood by people.
When people misunderstand you, you simply have to take them out to dinner.
In fact, I believe it was one brown bear that followed up on that thought.
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