Before the trip, get the Tour Saver book, it helps to reduce your travel cost a lot.
// note: this blog is about my experience, while the hyper link are my review of that business specifically on Yelp. ( I appreciate if you rate my review on Yelp )
We were flying, and got great hot dog at Portland airport. the Good Dog Bad Dog.
We arrived at Anchorage and stayed at Days Inn there.
We drove up to Talkeetna and stopped at a random company along the road. Saw some plane taking off the water and it’s a little resort along the hwy and having all the lovely decos.
We reserved an airplane tour on Denali‘s glacier and glacier landing with Air Taxi. But unfortunately, the weather is not that good, so our flight was postponed to afternoon.
We had a great lunch at Denali Brewing Company while praying for sun. Luckily, we are ok to set off around 1 pm. But then the plane had some mechanic issue. But you can see the plane has ski under it!! That’s how it lands on snow~
So we waited a bit more for another smaller plane.It has a smile under its wing
When we were in the sky, gosh the view is awesome. We can see all the different landscape there, like green forest, muddy swamp, tundra, snow mountains and ages-carved glacier!
Just after taking off, there’s still lots of trees around. And the river looks muddy and grey because the water comes from melting glacier which carries lots of mud and small stones within it.
Going inside, there rise the mountains gradually and tundra is kinda typical landscape here with the diversified color, covering the slopes.
I like this pic, bc it shows an over on how the forest gradually became a snow peak, with different landscape in between.
Finally, we got into the white ice world. When I saw some pic before, I was thinking the glacier looks so dirty! It must be the people don’t know how to pick a better spot to photograph. Now I laugh at the silly me and taking the same dusty glacier. They are so old with all the mountain rocks dusts around, they are grey. But the newly cracked open slots, you can see the amazing blue inside. And in the following days, we were really amazed by the beautiful blue.
Taking a more close look at the cracks on glacier, it’s really something I never saw before.
Not cracked open:
Crazily cracked (imo lol)
And some pics for the snowy mountain, it’s like the black white Chinese painting somehow.
Unfortunately, the plane can only land on snow, and snow exists on high altitude which was covered by cloud that day, so we didn’t get a chance to land there. So we literally chilled out in the plane and went back to ground.
Then we drove up more, stayed at Mckinley Creekside Cabin and Cafe.
We were about to take the world famous Denali animal tour! and yeah, it takes 11 hour and starts at 6am! Well, it’s actually the shuttle bus service along the park road provided by Denali National Park.
Our shuttle bus driver is Wendy, who feels like my own granny, patiently driving us around, telling the stories and teaching us how to keep quite and wait for the spotted animals show up again. She started to drive around in 1980′s and knows of all kinds of stories there. With her help, we saw 3 moose male and female, 9 bears, 3 of which are really just next to us, one goat far way top of hill and a bald eagle, and all the amazing scenery!
Then the gentleman:
Bear mama and her babies crossing the road:
Wendy told us the bears are picking berries for their winter. How cute.
One baby found the berries right away and stayed there all the way till we left.
Another babe was running around…
Then he can’t find the food and came to his mom who helped look around
Little bear got the berries too~
When we were about to leave, two males came to say goodbye i guess.
And we got some lovely color on him too.
Other than all the animals, the landscape is also awesome. The fall is already here, decorating the park red and golden, with snows around.
Slowing down glacier.
Then we got a hint of rainbow on the snow
We had the ATV event going to Knick Glacier with Alaska Backcountry Adventure Tours.
I suck on driving that machine :p but the view is awesome. We drove past forest, narrow trails, stone beach, wide river and etc.
And we arrive at Knick Glacier for lunch. It’s magnificent!
We continued to drive east and kept seeing awesome views along the way. This is Matanuska Glacier that we are going to climb the next day.
Ice climbing and zip line with MICA Guide.
It’s my favorite day after I felt sad that I can’t take control of ATV. I climbed awesome~ Judged by our cute guide, Joe.
We started from hiking a bit toward inside. Our guide told us about the landscape, about where is safe to step on where not. We were walking on some black muddy area but the guide told us it’s actually a very big ice, melting, covered by mus. So some place are tricky and soft, you might start to sink if you really step on them. Some of the black ice are extremely dense and slippery even with crampon on. Guess only stones and snowy ice area are safe to walk by.
Once we were inside the glacier.
We did climbing at two spots, they are awesome.
Later we still have some time and we opt to try a bit glacier hiking. Then Joe led us to his secret finding of an ice cave. It’s so blue and so deep inside.
Looking up before i go in.
Looking left when I was sliding in. Only one person per time can slide in by side.
I look up again and there seems to have a stone stuck there:
It’s very narrow inside and can’t go in any more. The ice is just so blue and so pure.
Later that evening we did zip line with MICA. And that concluded our awesome day! And then we drove back to the pizza place again ’cause we simply love their food.
And we stayed at L & L Bed & Breakfast that night.
As most of the visitor, you kinda have to do a sea kayak at Valdez and try your luck with Columbia Glacier. The ocean that day is not calm so we went to the Shoup Glacier instead.
One thing to note is the kayak is different from what we do in SoCal. It does has stear at end of the boat. People need to wear layers to protect from rain and cold and wear special *skirt* to seal the opening of your seat. So we all look like little ducks now.
After all the preps, we had people and kayaks on the boats, and setting out to the kayaking starting point.
And for the glacier, it proves the fact that there’s no two same glacier in the world.
After another day’s work, we had a rewarding dinner at THC Off the Hook, it’s the best place during our trip I guess, as best as pizza I guess.
We should have taken a ferry to go to Whittier, but first, we didn’t buy the ticket, second, Laura told us the ferry was broken two days ago and will be fixed in three days. So yes, we need to drive 9 hours to go Seward. But we saw so many good views along the way.
Early in the morning, Valdez is still cloudy and dim, around the hatchery we saw this beautiful Chinese painting.
Then we kept driving
Finally, we arrived Seward and decided to use the rest of the day to visit the Exit Glacier. Somehow, after all the wild days before, Exit Glacier feels just like a home grown baby to us. lol
From this, you can see how tiny tinne human are:
And I see you have a blue crystal heart under your dirty skin :p :
And this reminds me of the moose nose:
And here’s your toes, literally :
And then we bristly walked out with this lovely trail.
Seward is a small town with a nice harbor there.
Finally we start to slow down. We went on a five hour cruise with Major Marine Tours to Resurrection Bay.
We had a nice old lady for Fjord National Park to narrate through the whole trip. She’s like Wendy, super good at spotting animals. And also has vast knowledge of the area history and the animals, telling us lots of stories along the way.
Sea otters are now my favorite cute animals. See, he’s like, oops, you are picturing me?
and stop~ i’m so shy
Also, we saw around 12 orcas and 1 humpback whale. And jelly fish, 3 goats and 2 bald eagles and seals. And sea gulls for sure.
This is the best shot my lens can do with three killer whales in it.
And around the bay, there’s Bear Glacier and a couple of others.
It’s so relaxing of a day and we headed toward Soldotna, our last stop and stayed at Aspen Hotel.
This is sort of most boring day of the trip. QQ and I are not big fishing fan, plus we didn’t get any fish after spending 6 hours on the same two spots chilling Kenai river. Well, we did got some pink salmon which are dying because of the season. Meh. But we still got some good pictures.
And then we headed back to Anchorage and walked around at its downtown area.
Before flying back, we had our dinner at Club Paris. And this puts a sweet end of our trip I guess.
And a pic of Lizi and QQ, and you got a moose?