Help with first time

Old May 26th, 2016, 03:45 PM
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Help with first time

We are a couple in our twenties wanting to go next may/early june for 8-10 days. We will be renting a car and stay in hotels/motels. I have been doing some research but it is just so overwhelming. Our main things we want to do are:

Bear viewing (one of the day trips)
Hike on a glacier atleast once
Dog sled
Flight see and maybe even land on a glacier
Wildlife
Hike, kayak, atv etc

Roughly I have found we should fly in and out of Anchorage and visit Homer, Seward, Soldotna, Talkeetna. Is this to much for the time we have? Are we missing out not seeing Denali or is it to early in the season? Can anyone help me out at all?
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Old May 26th, 2016, 03:56 PM
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What are your actual questions?

Are they:

(1) Is 10 days enough for our itinerary? Answer: it's a stretch, but you're young so you can probably handle it.

(2) Are we missing out by not seeing Denali? Answer: if you're referring to the park, no because you have a lot to do and far to go; if you're asking about the mountain, that's on you and your interest level in seeing it (although it'll be visible from Anchorage on a clear day).

As for your other interests - the bear flights will be expensive and you may be early in the season for bear sighting (their numbers/concentration will grow larger at the usual congregation areas in late June and July). Save up if you decide to do this.

There are plenty of resources on the interweb for you to find flight-see options, glacier fly-bys, wildlife expeditions, kayak expeditions, and more. There are more active hikes than you can shake a fallen tree branch toward.

Narrow your questions, and you'll get more answers.
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Old May 26th, 2016, 04:10 PM
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Seward was my favorite on the Kenai Pennisula. Soldotna is a base for fishing the Kenai River and not of any particular tourist excitement.
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Old May 26th, 2016, 04:42 PM
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>>for 8-10 days.
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Old May 26th, 2016, 05:31 PM
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Sorry for being so vague. I am just trying to get the basics down.

So my questions are:

What is the best route to take for these stops?
Should I cut out Soldotna if we do not want to fish?
What are your top 3 MUST do sites or activities?

Any idea what I should budget for hotels and food for the 10 days for 2 people? We don't need or want anything fancy.
Thank you in advance
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Old May 26th, 2016, 06:19 PM
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Definitely do Seward and Homer. Skip Soldotna. I am not sure if the Kenai Fjords tours will be operating that early. The longer the cruise, the better! Exit Glacier is near Seward and you can hike up to the ice field. (I have not done this). The Seavey Family Ididaride sled dog place is also near Seward. We did this on wheeled "sleds". Very fun and interesting visit.

You are going very early in the season. Check on when things you would like to do open. You may want to push yourmvisit to a few weeks later.
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Old May 26th, 2016, 06:52 PM
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Read my "Upcoming Alaska Trip" by clicking my profile.
My wife and I are flying to Anchorage next Tuesday.
We are both in our 60's but I have no problem with driving 8 or even 9 hours in a day (not 3 days in a row).
We have a reservation on the shuttle bus out to the Eilson Visitor Center (MP 66) in Denali next Friday 6/3.
You buy your tickets online months in advance to be sure you have a seat on the shuttle bus. We expect to see some wildlife on the bus ride out even if the mountain is socked in.
As a geocacher, I will be doing several Earth Caches including one near MP 12 of the Denali Road, one near the spot where Felix Pedro found gold north of Fairbanks and another at the toe of the Exit Glacier near Seward (GC2BB5H).
If you do decide to fish you can do just as well going out of Homer.
We will be flying back to Seattle on the red eye 6/10.
We would have stayed a day or 2 longer, but I'm going back to work in central Oregon on 6/13.
There is a kayak in the back yard of the B&B we are staying at in North Pole AK next to the Cheena River. I may go out for a few minutes in the kayak.
I will be typing a trip report sometime on 6/11.
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Old May 27th, 2016, 03:10 AM
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As far as what to budget - Alaska is sticker-shock expensive. The tourist season is about 3 months and so all the money needs to be made in that amount of time. For rental car, lodging, restaurants - think equivalent of what you would pay in a large US city, even in more rural areas of Alaska. For food bought in stores - think 20% higher than in most of the rest of the US.

Many things - lodging, paid side trips - are non-refundable for the same reason.

Denali National Park is a toss-up. We spent 8 days on land prior to cruise and split it between Denali and Seward - with a little time in Anchorage. We took the 12 hour bus trip in and out. Saw moose, bears and assorted other mammals and birds - including babies since it was mid-June. But not a lot of animals/hour. 12 hours on a schools bus - with photo and bathroom stops - was a little much. But not planning on ever going to Alaska again, so checked off bucket list. Nothing like in anywhere else - but for the actual experience, still a toss-up.

The only way I know of to walk on a glacier is to take the helicopter than lands on Mendenhall glacier. Expensive - but worth it.
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Old May 27th, 2016, 05:55 AM
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This is where I'm going. http://www.geocaching.com/geocache/G...5-a9f4acaa12b8
You can click on the pictures people that have visited have taken. I don't expect to fly anywhere once I'm in Alaska.
I might take a boat to see glaciers calving into the ocean.
FYI there is a Costco with a gas station on Debarr Road in Anchorage. If you are a Costco member, you will do better there for gas and just about anything else you might want.
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Old May 27th, 2016, 07:35 AM
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I see you really want that glacier experience. Be aware that a helicopter ride to one, is really expensive. You could make a stop in Whittier, after checking out their glacier cruises online. We like Phillips, and they use catamarans, on very calm, protected water.

https://www.phillipscruises.com/

By contrast, for day trips. the Seward boats are on rougher ocean, and Dramamine is highly advised. Exit Glacier is an easy to moderate short hike, if one's knees and legs are in good shape.

There is a "dry" sled dog run experience nearby, as well.

Homer is gorgeous. Be sure to visit their winery.

http://bearcreekwinery.com/

We are having a lovely warm summer, for anyone heading this way soon.
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Old May 27th, 2016, 08:32 AM
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>

Doesn't matter.

Your budget is what you can afford so you need to talk in those terms. There are B&Bs available for $150/night and various VRBOs. Plus, going in the early part of the season may be better.

Food is riotously expensive - 25-35% more for equivalent dishes you'd find in the lower 48. Gas ain't cheap either - another 30% on top of the prices here (depending upon the state - Calif prices are higher than Texas so the spread isn't as bad).
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Old May 27th, 2016, 12:16 PM
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Let me comment on your wish list.

Bear viewing (one of the day trips)

Except for sightings from roadside in Denali, May is generally too early for bears. In June the options will be a little greater, but later in the summer is best. Fly-in bear viewing is very expensive.

Hike on a glacier at least once

Hiking on a glacier will probably require using a guide service unless you plan to bring ice-climing gear with you. Hiking to and around glaciers, different story.

Dog sled

The lowland summer dogsled operations (you're on wheels, not skids) are pretty touristy; mushing on a glacier can be had via helicopters or planes on skis.

Flight see and maybe even land on a glacier

See above.

Wildlife

It's where you find it; you'll probably see some moose, maybe bears if you visit Denali, plenty of marine mammals in the Kenai Fjords.

Hike, kayak, atv etc

All available; hiking is cheapest.

I'd probably look at combining the flightseeing, glacier landing/walk and maybe the dog mushing into one big splurge excursion. Look at Rust's - http://www.flyrusts.com/ - for various combinations and possibilities.

There's no reason to include Soldotna in your plans, and frankly I'd probably pass on Homer given your schedule. In the 350 miles or so between Denali and Seward I think there are enough options to meet the parts of your wish list that can be met at all.
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Old May 27th, 2016, 07:00 PM
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So much to take in. Thank you all for you opinions. Maybe I will look at pushing our trip back to the week of July 4th. So much to consider.
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Old May 27th, 2016, 07:44 PM
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We did 7 day road trip and covered Anchorage, Denali, and Valdez. It was wonderful and our experiences with pictures can be found in the blog below.

http://www.lifeasweexplore.com/home/...aska-road-trip
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Old May 29th, 2016, 04:35 AM
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>>> Hiking on a glacier
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