Alaska August 2018

August 4, 2018 - August 9, 2018
Saturday, August 4 - Flight Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - Anchorage, Alaska, USA
Sunday, August 5 - Denali National Park
Monday, August 6 - Drive Denali - Homer
Tuesday, August 7 - Homer
Wednesday, August 8 - Seward
Thursday, August 9 - Whittier - Flight Anchorage - Chicago

Satcha and I wanted to go on a trip while we were in Milwaukee for a month this summer. We really liked the idea of going to Alaska and wanted to take Maya (6) and Noa (3) with us - I even had an itinerary with kids stuff all planned out -, but since we also wanted to do a lot of walking and landscape sightseeing, we decided it would be best if we went by ourselves. So, we planned out a 6 day trip to Alaska and Maya and Noa stayed with Grandma and Grandpa in Milwaukee. Maya and Noa were very missed on this trip, but I don't think they would've had fun or we would've been able to do the activities we did.

Arrival in AnchorageWe arrived in Anchorage, went to a food store to stock up on food and head direction Denali National Park. The drive from Anchorage to Denali takes around 4 hours without stopping, but we stopped to see beautiful sights along the way.

We first stopped at Mirror Lake. From the name of the lake you can imagine how pretty it must be. Unfortunately for us, it was a cloudy day so we just saw a small lake. We sat at a picnic table by the lake for a while, ate a picnic lunch and just took in the fact that we were on vacation. From there we drove to Thunderbird Falls. It was an OK waterfall to see, I was expecting more though. Then we drove to Reflections Lake and walked Thunderbird Fallsthe trail that looped the lake. It was very pretty, but there were so many mosquitos. When we stopped to take pictures, they would swarm us. From there we drove to Denali Viewpoint South and North – very pretty viewpoints with views of the mountain range and park. We finally got to our cabin around 7:30pm.

Horseshoe Lake Trail. Beaver DamThe next day we were up early to get to Denali National Park and start hiking. The only problem was that when we woke up, it was raining. When we were ready to leave the rain was just a mist, so we decided we would still go to the Park and figure out what to do when we got there. Luckily when we got to Denali it had stopped raining, but it was still overcast and looked like it was going to rain more. So, we decided to do 2 short hikes in case we needed to be done because of rain (the original plan was to do 1 long day hike). The first trail we did was the Savage River Loop. It was a nice, easy, peaceful walk around the river. Then we did the Horseshoe Lake Trail, also easy, but cool that we got to see a dam in the river beavers had built. When we were done it was only 1:30pm, it wasn't raining and we wanted to keep hiking. We decided to to the Mt. Healy Top of Mt. HealyOverlook Trail, "a strenuous uphill trail" to the top of Mt. Healy! It was supposed to take 4 hours round trip, and was a 1700ft uphill climb. We are not hikers or mountain climbers, but we were up for something challenging, we were pumped!!! We started out and 15 minutes into the walk we came upon 4 people stopped on the trail. They had seen 2 moose in the bushes. I had made it my goal, when we got to Alaska, to see a moose. Mount Healy Overlook TrailUnfortunately, when we got there we could only hear them. So, we kept going, it was hard and really steep uphill. Then it started raining! But, we were determined to get to the top. We finally got there after only 1.5 hours!!! It was probably the hardest walk/trail I've ever done. My legs were trembling. But, it felt good, even though we were soaked and cold. We went back down the mountain and left Denali.

Still light at 9:50pmThe next day was our "drive day". We were going to drive from Denali to Homer, an 8 hour drive. We started at 9am and our first stop was 3 hours later in Talkeena, which is a very pretty little town. We walked around the little town and bought souvenirs for Maya and Noa (moose stuffed animals). From there we continued to the south. It was a difficult drive, it was raining a lot and there was construction. But, when we finally got to the southern area the landscapes changed so much: snow covered mountains going right into the ocean. It was so pretty. After checking into our hotel we went to the Spit for dinner. Since it was a wait to get a table, we walked around checking out the Spit area with fishing shacks on the water.

Homer Kayak and Glacier Hike The next day we did a Kayak and Glacier Hike Tour. A water taxi took the group to an area across from Homer where we would start kayaking and end in Halibut Cove. But, since the water was so choppy there, it picked us up again and took right to the Cove where we kayaked around. It was pretty. There were a lot of otters in the water and fishing shacks along the coast. We kayaked for 3 hours and then went to a beach to have a picnic lunch. From there we hiked the Saddle Trail, where there were bear sightings we saw its poop!, but we didn't see the bear. Saddle Trail was a steep 400ft walk at first but then leveled off and we started walking down into the glacier moraine. The temperature changed so much, it got so cold because of the glacier. The glacier and glacier lake was so pretty. Blue glacier icebergs in the water and the glacier coming down from the mountains. I think glaciers are the prettiest natural formation. After about 1 hour we hiked back to the beach where another water taxi pick us up to take us back to Homer. After dinner in Homer we drove to Seward, a 3 hour 20 minute drive.

Exit GlacierIn Seward we did the Kenai Fjord tour and went to Exit Glacier after. The fjord tour was a boat cruise through the Kenai Fjords. It was very nice, there were beautiful landscapes, fjords, glaciers and wildlife. We saw 2 mall humpback whale tails, sea lions, sea otters, seals and puffins. After the cruise we drove to Exit Glacier and hiked to the Glacier point and the out-wash. It was really pretty. You get really close to the Glacier and it's an easy hike.

Whittier. Prince William Sound Day Cruise. Glacier calvingThe next day we drove from Seward to Whittier (1 hour 50 minutes). In Whittier we booked the Prince William Sound 26 Glacier Cruise. To get to Whittier we went through the car/train tunnel, which was weird but cool! The cruise was nice, we saw A LOT of glaciers which was pretty. At one of the glaciers we even saw glacier calving, a huge chunk of ice broke off at the end of a glacier. It made HUGE waves in the water. It was a nice cruise.

Prince William Sound Day CruiseFrom the cruise we drove back to Anchorage and took the red eye flight back to Chicago. This was a really nice trip. We did a lot of driving and sightseeing, we packed in a lot for a few days. Alaska is beautiful and it was nice to get away on a trip with Satcha, just the 2 of us. I missed Maya and Noa A LOT, too though. I would go back to Alaska. I feel like I haven't seen everything, especially wildlife - I'm pretty bummed I didn't see a moose or bear!. But, this was a fast passed-see the highlights-express getaway that was good for me. (But next trip Maya and Noa with be with me!)

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