Alaska trip in July questions - HELP!

Old Apr 19th, 2009, 02:24 PM
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Alaska trip in July questions - HELP!

Hello,

My husband, myself, my in laws & (hopefully) our soon-to-be adopted 2 month old son will be going on a trip to Alaska July 9 - 18, 2009. We will be involved with a wedding in Soldotna on July 10 & 11.

Here is where I need help - what to do next? We are thinking of renting a house in Homer for a couple nights - one with a view where we can relax. I also REALLY want to do a day glacier cruise - perhaps the 26 Glaciers out of Whittier. We've considered going to Seward as well. My husband would like to go to Denali by way of the train.

So...how much is too much? Has anyone done the train to Denali with an infant? Is that just insane? I've heard that if the weather is poor, the glacier cruise will be cancelled so I should work in a "back up" day in case our cruise is postponed. Any experience with that happening to anyone?

I REALLY appreciate any advice/thoughts. I've always found this forum to be a terrific resource.

THANK YOU!
Jenny
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Old Apr 19th, 2009, 02:51 PM
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First let me say that some 2 month olds may be dream kids who sleep most of the day and night, and require little more than food and diapers. Other 2 month olds are colicky and cry most of the time, while others still have their days and nights mixed up so they will be up all night. If you have never had a child, you have no idea what it will be like. Also, you can't predict the temperment of this child before he arrives and you have him.

A day glacier cruise for a 2 month old could be a nightmare for you, the child, and your fellow passengers. If you don't have someone who can watch the child, skip the day cruise.

With a newborn who may not be sleeping through the night at 2 months, your best option is to rent a house or cabin, and enjoy the views, local scenery and activities, etc.

You could take the train to Denali but what are you going to do when you get there? Just like the day cruise, you don't want to spend a lot of time on the Denali bus with a baby. You can do some hikes near the entrance to the park by carrying the baby in a sling or front carrier. At 2 months, babies don't have the head control to go in a back pack.

Good luck!
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Old Apr 19th, 2009, 04:02 PM
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How much is too much - in my opinion, everything you have planned. Since you mention no other kids, I am assuming this will be your first (congratulations, by the way). And while you will not be recovering physically and hormonally from a birth, no doubt you will be going thru stress-related recovery after the adoption. Add in-laws to the mix - it would not have worked for me, but we are all different. With a new baby all I wanted to do was nest, regroup, and sleep - AT HOME

Assuming you are flying with an infant to Alaska. That could be your first difficult event. I flew a number of times with our first kid as an infant and I remember laughing that I brought more in carry-on stuff for him as I did for an entire week-long trip for myself.

BC (before children) I assumed infants slept a lot, got fed, slept some more. My first kid screamed about 20 hours/day - and a train ride, boat ride, bus thru Denali would have been emotional torture for me and auditory torture for any fellow passengers. Anytime he stopped screaming and slept all I wanted to do was sleep. In all likelihood your child will be more mellow in his/her infancy - but your trips sound quite optimistic and exhausting to me.

Rent a house, enjoy each other's company - and if DH must do Denali, send him off with his parents.
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Old Apr 19th, 2009, 06:22 PM
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Try a short (1 hour) cruise to Portage Glacier to see if that whets your appetite for more - http://www.youralaskacruise.com/glaciers/portage.html

A beautiful home for a family group to rent in Homer is The Homer Retreat - http://chickengold.com/retreat/index.html

Murray
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Old Apr 19th, 2009, 06:28 PM
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The train to Seward is more scenic and shorter than Denali. So you would only have to be on the train for 4 hours with him. You can get up and walk around. It would be eaiser on the train than an airplane with a 2 month old. You could do a Glacier Cruise out of Seward as well. We enjoyed the Full Day Kenai Tour. We went flyout fishing/bearviewing in Soldotna. Very good, you would not want to take a baby on that however.

I totally agree with what others have said. We had no clue what to expect with a child until it actually got here. I thought I could just take her to work with me and she would be fine in a basket all day. LOL. what a thought. my wife wound up quiting her job and things worked much better after that.
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Old Apr 19th, 2009, 06:35 PM
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Thank you for your input! Yes, my in laws will babysit - that is part of the reason why they are coming. However you have brought up VERY valid points - and yes, this is my first child. When we were asked to participate in this wedding, we had no idea we would be adopting. It has all happened quickly which is great! But it does change EVERYTHING.

We have a house rented for the 3 nights we are in Soldotna. We are looking at renting a house either in Homer or Girdwood possibly. And b/c my in laws have been to Alaska twice before, they are willing to babysit if we did do a day glacier cruise. (That is something I really want to do.) Denali - we keep going back & forth on it. It is good to hear that some of your concerns are ours as well - I'm thinking that renting a house w/ a view might be a great way to go. That way if I am w/ a colicky child, the view will still be spectacular!

Also my in laws (who are truly wonderful) have offered to watch our son if we wanted to go up to Denali for 2 days. However I'm not sure I'll want to be away from my son that long - I've wanted children for years and now the time has arrived! Part of the problem is that usually on vacations my dh & I go full tilt - of course, that now needs to change anyway, doesn't it? I like the possibility of them going to Denali w/o me - I really am fine with that. Good idea.

So...what does sound reasonable to you? The plane tickets are purchased, so we are planning on that with our son no matter what. Would love to hear what you think is a reasonable expectation. After all, I do want us all to enjoy our time in Alaska. (And my goal is to keep those around me content as well.) Are there any "don't miss this" moments to be had on the Kenai peninsula that you can recommend?

Thanks!
Jenny
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Old Apr 19th, 2009, 08:12 PM
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Since a couple of your days are already committed, in essence you really have only about a week to spend. Since you're already in Soldatna, I'd spend it on the Kenai Peninsula (IMO, the most scenic part of Alaska on the road system) and save Denali for another trip.

If it were me, I'd get a place somewhere on Skyline Drive in Homer (wonderful elevated views of Katchemak Bay and the lower Peninsula plus glaciers)for 4 days. I'd then drive to Seward for three days. You can get a day cruise on Kenai Fiords National Park from there.

I agree with the suggestion to leave the baby with your relatives for that day. Maybe you could take the water cruise one day while they watch the baby and then they could take it the next while you bond with your new child.

Even if you take the train between Seward and Anchorage, it's a multi-day trip due to the train schedules. The only way it would make sense is if you could drop off your rental car in Seward and take the train back to Anchorage for your departure. I haven't rented a car up there for several years now but the last time I knew, there was no rental car company that would let you do that.

If you'd like to see a few photos of the area, take a look at http://www.worldisround.com/articles/209893/index.html.

Congratulations on your adoption and enjoy your trip, wherever you decide to go.
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Old Apr 20th, 2009, 01:31 AM
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I predict you will not want to leave the baby overnight. I found the bus ride thru Denali terrifying - lots of switchbacks, dirt roads seemingly 1/2 inch wider than the bus - and then you have to pass a bus going in the other direction. I do not like that sort of thing, and I was sure we were all going to die. If I had been on such a trip with my husband while our baby was elsewhere I would have needed serious medication to continue, being sure that s/he would be an instant orphan. That is my own brand of paranoia - my husband and 18 year old dtr loved Denali.

Keep telling yourself you are opening all sorts of new chapters in your traveling life. They will be different - but the most wonderful trip I have ever taken can not compare to doing things like wandering tidepools near home with our kids or taking them to a local park. Travel is not over, but it will be different for the next 20 years, even when your child is nearly an adult. We just returned from Alaska with our 18 and 22 year old almost-adult kids (last June). Unless the volcano near Anchorage really gets nasty, Alaska will still be there when your child is older - there is no such thing as a "once in a lifetime" trip.

Since your in-laws will babysit, an all day boat thing from Seward would be nice (kenaifjords.com). There are also local hiking opportunities that can be decided on short notice depending on weather and what kind of day your baby is having. Also some beautiful drives you can take if you have a rental care and baby gets crabby - park him/her in a carseat and off you go.
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Old Apr 20th, 2009, 03:48 AM
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Do the boat trip out of Seward while you are still in Soldotna. It's only about 1 1/2 hours away. I would choose Homer over Girdwood for a house rental. I think there is more to see and do in Homer. Check the dates for the Girdwood Forest Fair which might be before your visit, which might mean more traffic and less available rentals. I loved the Forest Fair but only as a day trip.
The farmers market in Homer is small, but fun. If you rent a house you will be able to cook up some of your purchases. There were also a few craft sellers. If I recall correctly, it is held on Fridays. The nature cruise over to Seldovia from Homer is okay but not as exciting as the one out of Seward (more otters, no orcas).
Congratulations on your upcoming adoption.
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Old Apr 20th, 2009, 08:44 AM
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I agree with the suggestions to take a day cruise out of Seward (leaving baby to bond with inlaws will make them very happy, I suspect), and rent a place in Homer. Congratulations!
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Old Apr 21st, 2009, 01:39 PM
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Seward offers the excellent Kenai Fjords boat tours, but you need to consider AT least 6 hours on the water here, and probably not appropriate for infants, Denali Park definately is NOT. So you need to decide for yourself, IF you are going to be able to leave him. The train to Denali is 8 hours, from Anchorage, and not the best way to go there- you are then limited with your lodging, meals and shuttle bus options without a car. Plus this route just about parallels the Parks Highway. No advantage taking it in my opinion and way to many trees and more trees.
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