View of the Alaska mountain Range from Denali National Park (add link to NP Page)
Kenai Fjords National Park (add link to NP Page)
Beautiful scenery from the Train
Alaska, a remote piece of american land with checkered history is beauty to behold. For people making their first trip before being Senior citizens, please skip the cruise idea and fly into Alaska in order to experience the hinterland and not just the edges. Must do activities in Alaska:
Ride the train in first class from Seward to Anchorage for some of the most breathtaking views. It is like gliding through alpine meadows, crisp blue lakes etc. I do not recommend first class for luxury but for the sheer opportunity of viewing through semi-dome glass roof and a special observation deck.
One must spend a lazy day walking down the single main street in Seward to get a fleeting experience of an idyllic country life. Warning: You may want to settle down here and never return to the other world.
Take a cruise in Kenai Fjords NP and no one will blame you for hallucinating being part of Lord of The Rings.
White water rafting in glacial water. You will special dry suits for this activity. (Link to River Rafting page in Escapades)
Hike/Bike through Denali NP
Grab coffee perched at the top of the hill bang at the entrance to Denali NP and chit-chat with tourists and workers from different nationalities as you watch the sun go down over Denali
Ice-climbing in any of the remote glaciers
Helicopter ride atop Mt Mckinley
Definitely spend time to understand Alaskan history of Russian influence, otter trade, Seward’s folly and resistance to absorption as an american state. This will make the rest of the action more relevant and enable appreciation of local behaviors etc
Three in One! Hike to the Crow Pass, walk on the Glacier and do ice-climbing. See more information here (Add link to Escapades page)
Ice ice baby! There are 616 officially named glaciers in Alaska, any many more (like 10,000 as per Alaska Almanac estimates) unnamed ones. Snow patch becomes a glacier when the deepest layers begin to deform due to the weight of the overlying snow and ice. Because the red (long wavelengths) part of white light is absorbed by ice and the blue (short wavelengths) light is transmitted and scattered.
Anchorage is best explored on a bike. These life-sized fake bears were very intimidating. Imagine encountering them in person. There is a fascinating American documentary named 'Grizzly Man' about a bear-enthusiast named Timothy Treadwell who claimed he had "gained the trust" of certain bears, sufficient to approach and pet them. He spent 13 summers in Katmai National Park & Preserve. (Add link to Lights Camera Action page) The documentary is based on his footage until the time he and his girlfriend were killed & eaten by one of the bears. Yikes.
We found so many warm and furry Alaskan souveniers. I could literally just keep walking from one Gift shop to another for it's cuteness and the variety of gifts. Fair warning: Even those who are not into shopping will find themselves spending some bucks.
This Anchorage bus tour is a must do. It was a cute little tram with a sweet jingle bell and an expert bus driver who was also giving a non stop narrative. We drove through the Earthquake park and also witnessed the innumerable bush planes that Alaska is renowned for.
Even the Visitor center itself is a must visit stop. Surrounded by colorful flowers, this cute little building with it's dark wood interiors was bustling with energy inside as the information desk folks happily bantered away. While biking, we came across murals, and interesting artwork on various buildings representative of the life and culture of the city. There are very pretty and attractive cake shops, art stores and hotel lobbies that you can walk through to get a feel for the place and it's very friendly people.
Fire in the sky: The golden sunset views on gray nights gave a divine feeling. The day time lasted till 11 PM, of which the sunset lasted for almost 3 hours, making the golden hour extra special. We came across this miniature version of the Kenai Fjords cruise with the Glacier in the background and our favorite train ride in the foreground. Couldn't miss the opportunity to take a picture that summarized the most enjoyable parts of the trip!