Alaska - August 2019
There are so many things to say about Alaska. Beautiful scenery, amazing wildlife, and fresh seafood. These are just a few ways to experience what Alaska has to offer. During our stay, we experienced the joy of glacier sightseeing, breathtaking bus tours through untouched wilderness, Iditarod sleigh dog training, and, to unfortunately say, the dangers that threaten it all.
How did we get there?The Alaska Marine Highway System is a state-run ferry organization that runs through several coastline cities. This ferry ran from Bellingham, WA to Wittier, AL through the beautiful inner channels of B.C. and southeast Alaska and Gulf of Alaska. We stopped in Ketchikan, Juneau, Yakutat, and finally Wittier. The trip took four full days on the vessel and five nights.
We took the Kennicott. Originally designed to respond to oil spills, the Kennicott provides all the useful amenities you would expect. A sizable dining area, solar decks, comfortable seating, and my personal favorite: The quiet lounge for reading and "quiet conversations".
What did we do?When we arrived in Anchorage, we booked a fishing trip in Homer and a bus tour in Danali NP. We made the mistake of trying to make reservations for a bus tour in Danali the day before going. All but one bus tour were booked. We ended up booking the uber-expensive all day long bus tour because there was nothing left. $500 for two people. Yikes! The bus tour was great, and the guide was fantastic, but the weather wasn't cooperating with us that day. Our tour got cut short due to poor road conditions. However, we still were able to see some amazing landscapes and wildlife.
On the one hand, this trip was outstanding in many respects. On the other hand, something ominous stopped us from enjoying what Alaska has to offer.
After we arrived back in Anchorage from Denali NP, the wind kicked into overdrive and flamed the already burning wildfires. This produced a thick cloud of smoke all through the Kenai peninsula. Anchorage was heavily impacted, too. At times, the smoke was so thick it was unbearable to be outside.
We ended up cancelling our fishing trip in Homer due to road closures caused by the wildfires. When the smoke receded a little, we managed to make it to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center where we got to see the bears up close.
You can tell from this last photo how bad the smoke was.
Eventually we were tired of staying inside, so we did manage to make it to Wittier and take a short three and half hour boat tour to the glaciers.
All the landscape photos were taken by my lovely wife! She is a incredibly talented photographer.