It's "North to Alaska"

February 03, 2017

Originally posted Feb02, 2012

Cindy and I did have an extended discussion on what to do with "Summer 2012" and after re-visiting the Africa idea, as well as considering a rambling run to the left coast, we wound up right where we began, heading to Alaska next July.

That was the easy part, just like taking an airplane off. The hard part is what comes next...a landing you can walk away from and/or making all the arrangements for a trip that will involve transportation by airline, bush plane, and train, as well as lodging in four different venues. And, the first of February isn't getting stared any too early to nail down stuff in Alaska in July.

We'll be both going and coming home on American Airlines out of Omaha, and I was fortunate to get flights both ways that depart and arrive on the same day (due to the distance and time difference, traveling from one day into the next is not uncommon when going to Alaska). Because we'll get to Anchorage early evening of the day we leave Omaha, we are actually going to take two one-day trips to view and photograph bears. Ironically, it's actually less expensive to take two day-trips than to stay overnight at one of the "bear" lodges. IF you can get in, that can run eight or nine hundred dollars per person per night. Sooo, we are going to world famous Brooks Falls, in Katmai National Park the first day and to Silver Salmon Creek, in Lake Clark National Park, the second day. That also means that if we get weathered out one of those days, we'll still get to see bears on the other one...unless of course, we get weathered out both days (but that's not going to happen).

Another advantage to going out and back each day is that we don't have to take overnight luggage, the size and weight of which has to be limited in a small aircraft. That will allow me to take and check with the airline my bigger roller bag, while carrying on my photo equipment back pack - which will fit in the overhead of even the smallest regional jets - while I stuff the roller bag with clothes and some not-so-fragile photo equipment that my backpack won't accommodate.

After the two "bear" days, we will take the Alaska Railroad up to Denali, where we'll spend two nights in a cabin near the entrance to Denali National Park. There's no private motor vehicle traffic in the Park, so we are taking a full-day escorted tour of it, leaving the cabin at 6:15 a.m. and returning about that time in the evening. It works because in the summer the days are so long up there.

After Denali, we'll take the train on up to Fairbanks, where we'll spend two nights and one day, and then train back to Anchorage the following day. Sadly, the next day we'll climb on an airplane early in the morning to get back to Omaha late that night.

Expect to see some Alaskan Coastal Brown Bears pictured on this site, beginning early August.

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