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July 25, 2011 / mws

2008 Alaska Aug/Sept

We left on August 22 at 3:30AM to go to the Harrisburg PA airport for our flight. Arrived in Anchorage Alaska at 3PM. Rented a Lincoln Towncar since that is all they had to offer us. Luckily, I asked to see the car rental rate before we left the airport. It was almost double what I was quoted…Since we were delayed in Denver for 2 hours, we were past the official rental time, so the Hertz agent “restarted” the quote. Oh No! I had documentation to prove our quote, so we were able to rent the car at the original rate. First hurdle passed! We stopped at the City Diner for Halibut, and stocked up on supplies at the local grocery store.  Then we headed to the Big Bear B & B in Anchorage. We enjoyed our stay and the great breakfast!

August 23 2008 Alaska Railroad Grandview Glacier Discovery Train. Enjoyed this day on the train…very uncrowded. Went thru Anchorage, past Girdwood, the Turnagain Arm, and made a stop in Whittier. We passed Spencer Glacier and the Grandview Glacier. At one point, we spotted some moose and the engineer stopped for us to takes pictures. A fun day.

Alaska Train

Alaska Train

August 24 2008 Drove to Homer today, saw moose and Mt Redoubt on the way. Ate in Soldotna at Charlottes Cafe and bookstore…good food. Stopped in Clam Gulch area and Nilchik. Arrived in Homer and drove out to the spit. In the evening we went to the local theatre to see a production.

August 25 2008 We are staying at the Victorian Heights B & B in Homer. It sits up on the hill overlooking Homer, and it is very comfortable. We toured Homer today, went to the Oceans & Islands Visitors Center, drove out the east end, and checked in with Emerald Air for our bear viewing trip.

August 26 2008  Our Emerald Air bear viewing was cancelled…BOOOOO! It was a beautiful day, but for the first time in years, there was a mechanical problem with the plane and they could not go. We revised our itinerary and rescheduled for September 9th. For Plan B, we went to Halibut Cove on the Danny J. We had a good time and good food at the Saltry.

Halibut Cove

Halibut Cove, Alaska

August 27 2008 Today we took the charter boat from Homer to Seldovia. We saw more otters and beautiful flower baskets. There are interesting wood carvings, lots of dogs and quaint cottages. We had halibut at the Mad Fish Restaurant.

August 28 2008 Thursday…driving day. We stopped at the Norman Lowell Art Gallery…this is amazing! The artist and his wife were there and showed us around. They do have this gallery for sale, it is located in Anchor Point. These were the largest paintings I had ever seen…..beautiful landscapes of Alaska. Arrived in Talkeetna and had salmon at the Wildflower Cafe, and walked around town. Also drove out to Talkeetna Lodge.

August 29 2008 Breakfast at the ROADHOUSE! A wonderful experience! Fun people and huge portions of delicious food.  We started driving north as the clouds dissappeared and the rain stopped!! The fall colors were vibrant and gorgeous! After checking in at the Denali Lakeview Inn, we drove out to Savage Point. An excellent start to our Denali adventure.

Alaska Denali Park

Denali National Park August 2008

August 30 2008 Denali National Park Day!! YEAAAAA! We took the 6:45AM bus to Wonder Lake. The high one in her glory! We had a marvelous time.  We got off the bus at the turnoff to Reflection Pond and walked back to see the pond.  On the way back we did not see as much animal activity, but we still took pictures. It was a glorious day!

August 31 2008 Sunday  Today, we took the morning bus to see the NPS tour of the dog kennels. Since it was a lovely day, we hiked back through the woods on the Rock Creek Trail to the Visitors Center. Went to the Creekside Cafe for our midday meal of Salmon and warm brownies….Yummy! We returned to the Denali area and decided to drive back out to Savage River….turned out to be very exciting.

Denali Moose

Denali Moose

September 1 2008  Woke up to a gorgeous sunrise. We took some pictures around the Denali Lakeview Inn. Today’s activity is a tour of Jeff King Iditarod Champion Kennels. We took a shuttle bus to the kennel. As soon as we got off the bus, we were given the puppies! (but we had to give them back later)  We met Jeff King and his daughters who gave us the tour. Very worthwhile.

King Dog Kennels

At Husky Homestead Dog Kennels

We ate at Totem Inn cafe….not our favorite…returned to Denali Lakeview Inn which is our favorite. About 6PM we drove back into Denali Park to take more pictures of animals and scenery.

September 2 2008 Well, we just can’t get enough of Denali Park…back into the park on the bus to Wonder lake. It was another beautiful day and we saw lots of bears today. At Wonder Lake we stopped to pick blueberries. On the way back, we spent some time at the new and interesting Eielson Visitors Center.

Denali Bear

Denali Bear

September 3 2008 Transition day..moving to Palmer, Alaska for the next few days. We stopped at the VC in Palmer.  We are staying at the very comfortable Alaska Harvest Bed & Breakfast with a sheep barn, mountain view, and schnauzers.

September 4 2008  We drove up Hatcher Pass to start the day. We also visited Independence Mine.

Hatcher Pass

Hatcher Pass

September 5 2008  Today we started out in Palmer by going to the Reindeer Farm. The farm has a herd of caribou, several moose, some elk, a bison and of course, the everpresent gift shop. The weather was very cloudy with showers, and we went to the Eagle River Nature Center to hike a little in the rain.We stopped to eat at Joanns on the Old Glenn Highway…very good!

September 6 2008 We drove east on the Glenn Highway with a quick stop at the Matanuska Glacier staying at Copper Center. We drove south towards Chitina and stopped to take pics of the Autumn colors and Mt Elias.

September 7 2008  Today we have an adventure. We are flying from Chitina into Wrangell-St Elias National Park. We started out from Chitina on Wrangell Air flying into McCarthy. A very good flight with photos on the way. We went into McCarthy and looked around a bit…nice buildings with character and dogs everywhere. We took a shuttle over to the Kennicott Lodge area and took a few more photos and had lunch at the lodge. We still had time before our tour of the old mine began so we hiked partway to Root Glacier…nice trail pics.

Root Glacier trail

Root Glacier trail

We took the 2 1/2 hour afternoon tour of the 14 story copper mill. Very interesting and a good Alpine guide. After the tour we headed back to McCarthy and loaded up to fly over to Chitina.

September 8 2008 Marathon driving day! We are driving from Copper Ctr to Homer today to try again for bear viewing. It was a nice drive with a few moose spottings and nice scenery…got to Pioneer Inn at 6PM. A very good day.

September 9 2008 4 for 4..We have tried 4 times to go bear viewing and once again, it was cancelled due to fog. We drove back the Sterling Highway and made stops for pictures, heading to Moose Pass for the next few days. We arrived at the Jewel of the North B & B. This is our second time here and it is a delightful place to stay.

September 10 2008  Went to Seward to the Sea Life Center and ate at Ray’s Waterfront Restaurant where we had delicious Halibut.

September 11 2008 Kenia Fjords National Park Tour of the bay and up to the Holgate Glacier..a nice day but cloudy.

Holgate Glacier, Alaska

Holgate Glacier, Alaska

September 12 2008 Driving to Hope Alaska to look around. This is a nice drive and a unique little town. It is rainy and cool today so we couldn’t get very good photos even though it was a scenic drive. We returned from Hope and stopped in Girdwood at the Alesyka Resort.

September 13 2008  We drove into Whittier today just to have the experience. It was rainy and cool again.

Alaska Bear

Alaska Bear at the Wildlife Conservation Center

The highlight of the day was the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. It was not crowded due to the rain.

We thank Mr. Seward who made a controversial decision in 1867 to purchase Alaska. Even though he was surely NOT  thinking about tourism at the time, his foresight brings joy to all of us today!

To see more photos of our 2008 Alaska trip, click here
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