In June 2016 I was privileged to visit the beautiful and massive state of Alaska. I flew into Fairbanks, the second largest city in Alaska with only about 32,000 residents. My flight landed at midnight–it was very strange to be out and about at nearly 1am with the sun still shining low in the sky. I drove through the “night” to Denali National Park, though it never really got dark. I spent the day riding the park shuttle to Eielsen Visitor Center, 66 miles into the park. It was really incredible, with amazing views of bears, moose, caribou, dahl sheep and ptarmigans. I was even blessed to be in the 30% of visitors who actually see Mt. Denali, the highest mountain in North America. Truly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited.
My second day I took a tour from Fairbanks up to the Arctic Circle, 200 miles north along the world famous Dalton highway featured in Ice Road Truckers. Definitely further north than I’ve ever been before, and a few too many mosquitos as well, but well worth the experience!
On the third day I flew down to Anchorage and boarded the Norwegian Sun cruise ship for a one way cruise down the coast of Alaska. The next week was far more amazing than I ever thought it would be! We cruised Hubbard Glacier, one of the largest glaciers in North America, then stopped in port at Icy Strait (Hoonah), Sitka, Juneau, and Ketchikan. Sitka might have been my favorite stop; really neat little town with a rich Russian history and more bald eagles than I’ve ever seen before. I got to watch one taking a bath in the creek, and another group of 18 eating together out in the bay.
Ketchikan was my second favorite stop. It was raining, which is quite normal there, but I took a day tour out to Misty Fjords National Monument. Amazingly it wasn’t raining there, and the lighting was perfect with misty clouds hanging around the massive glacially carved mountains. We even got to see a mother Alaska Brown Bear with her yearling cub, a very rare sight from the boat tour!
Our cruise ended in Vancouver, making a super easy hop back down to Oregon for me. I highly recommend taking an Alaska cruise, it’s a very relaxing and amazing way to see this state. I really enjoyed Norwegian’s service–their food was really good and the ship was large but not overwhelming, a very nice size. If you’re interested in taking a cruise to Alaska, just give us a call, we can always find you the best deals for the vacation of a lifetime!