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Trip Report Off-season Trip to Alaska was a Success!

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My husband and I really wanted to get to Alaska this year, but due to scheduling conflicts the only time-frame we could make it work was the last weekend of September through the first week of October. We were hesitant because we'd read that "everything" would be closed up by then. We decided to give it a shot anyway. We are so glad we did!

The weather was fantastic and the trees were full of gorgeous fall colors, especially the more south we got. We landed in Anchorage but traveled to Homer, Seward, and Talkeetna by car.

We were able to get on one of the last boat tours of the year (I believe they only go through September 30) with Kenai Fjords Tours out of Seward. We thought the operation was great! The cruise was very well organized and the scenery beautiful. I'd recommend you take something if you get seasick though, as the open water did get pretty choppy. We saw bald eagles, porpoise, dall sheep, seals, otters, and even one whale!

We spent a night in Seward and while there we went to see Exit Glacier. The road to Exit Glacier was closed due to flooding a week before we arrived, but we still got a great view of the glacier and I'd highly recommend checking it out if you're in Seward, especially since it is a beautiful drive and such a short distance from town.

Homer was shut down! Not a problem, we still enjoyed seeing the area and the drive south, but honestly there were only a few restaurants open, no shops. We ate lunch at Land's End and saw otters and seals in the water from our table.

One day we made the drive north to Talkeetna. The skies were crystal clear and we could see Denali (aka: Mt. McKinley) from Anchorage. We had reservations with Talkeetna Air Taxi for a plane ride around Denali and a glacier landing. Unfortunately due to snow the previous night we could not land on the mountain :-( We were disappointed in that, but appreciate the safety and professionalism of the crew. They discounted the glacier landing price from our flight seeing package and we were off. I cannot recommend this enough! I was nervous about the small plane, but everything was so smooth and comfortable. The view was unbelievable! And I must mention, while you can't take the bus into Denali National Park at that time of year, TAT does fly year round (weather dependent) so don't be afraid of the "off-season."

A few other things to mention:
- We went to Flattop near Anchorage and there were plenty of people hiking at this time of year.
- We saw a moose in the wild! That was pretty exciting and it was just outside of Anchorage.
- We also the northern lights one night!
- We went to the Alaskan Wildlife Conservation Center. I hate to completely bash this place since I think they probably do good work, however we did not enjoy it at all. Wasn't set up very nice, didn't see much (except some baby moose that were adorable!), and overall it just felt like a tourist trap. Worth a note though since they are open in the off-season as well.
- We waited for a table at the Moose's Tooth in Anchorage for well over an hour and it was worth every minute. Nummy!
- We thought about going to Whittier, but the toll through the tunnel was $12 one way and just didn't feel worth that for just a lunch on the other side. If we'd have an extra night I would have liked to have fit that in.

Although I'm sure Alaska is wonderful during a peak July day or even fun during a fresh snowfall in January, but I must say that we thought it was a great vacation and enjoyed having everything almost to ourselves :-)

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