Input on June 2020 travel plans

Old Nov 23rd, 2019, 10:20 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Posts: 4
Input on June 2020 travel plans

Would appreciate input on our travel plans. What are we missing that we shouldn't?To do that, what would should we give up? Suggested places to dine in the various areas? A little about us. Two 50 year-old adults and one 14 year-old teen girl. We are not "sit and chill" kind of vacationers. We love to go go go and see, do experience, explore. Our interests are learning about the culture, wildlife, glaciers, scenery. We want to hike easy hikes and maybe one that more difficult. We have some friends in Alaska who will be loaning us there pop-up camper to use so we will be staying in RV parks with a little pulled camper. While Alaska is much larger than Texas where we live, Texas is still quite large so we are used to driving long distances to get to places. We live in a large city now and will drive more than hour just to meet someone for dinner as that is still considered close. And this is our first time to Alaska. Hopefully will return someday on an inside passage cruise (as that is really the only way to see it, I think. Thanks for any and all input!

Sat, Jun 6 Arrival:
  • Use Southwest Airline points to fly free from Texas to Seattle then used purchase tickets to fly Alaska Airline from Seattle to Anchorage. Tickets not yet purchased for either airline.
  • Meet up with friends and get trained on the camper
  • Lodging at friends in Wasilla
Sun, Jun 7 Wasilla and Glacier View:
  • church with friends in Wasilla
  • Drive to Glacier View with stop at mile marker 76.9 for Matanuska River View
  • 2:00 MICA Guides Ice Fall Trek on the Matanuska Glacier
  • Matanuska State Park to walk the short Edge Nature Trail to learn a little more about the glacier and see it from a different viewpoint
  • Scenic view stops at mile markers 99.7, 78.3, 49.9
  • Lodging at friends in Wasilla
Mon, Jun 8 Anchorage:
  • 9:00am Alaska Native Heritage Center
  • Take a self-driving tour around Alaska (I got this from Alaska dot org) that includes:
    • Ship Creek Overlook
    • William Jack Hernandez Sport Fish Hatchery
    • Watch for ship traffic and birds from Coastal Trail at Elderberry Park
    • Go to Oscar Anderson House Museum for either a short 45 minute tour or just to reach the plaque outside of it to learn a bit
    • Captain Cook Monument
    • Earthquake Park
    • Check out the views from Point Woronzof Park
    • Drive through Kinkaid Park with stops at the Sand Dunes and Little Campbell Lake
    • Check out the old bridge and the creek at the Campbell Airstrip Trailhead
    • Potter Marsh
    • Glen Alps Trail Overlook
  • Lodging: at friends in Wasilla
Tue, Jun 9 Wasilla to Denali:
  • Drive from Wasilla to Denali with stops at mile markers 134 or 135 (scenic views), 147 (Alaska Veterans Memorial), 162.4, 170, 173 (scenic views), 174 (Hurricane Gulch), 195.9 and 234.1 (scenic views). If time, lunch at either Prey Pub or Creekside Cafe', If not time, will grab a sandwich or something to eat in the car while driving.
  • Get to Denali in time to take the 1:20 bus to the free 2:00 Husky Dog Tour
  • Explore Denali Visitor's Center
  • Drive 15 miles into Denali (or more likely take the shuttle) and hike the Savage River Loop Trail
  • Return to Visitor's Center and hike the Horseshoe Lake Trail
  • Lodging: RV park in Healy
Wed, Jun 10 Denali:
  • Take the Denali Backcountry Adventure tour. Goes all 92 miles in and back. Includes lunch and snacks and tour guide. Takes all day.
  • Lodging: RV park in Healy
Thu, Jun 11 Denali to Anchorage/Wasilla:
  • 8:30 Husky Homestead Tour (my daughter will especially enjoy this)
  • Eklutna Historical Park
  • Hike Rodak Nature Trail at Eagle River Nature Center
  • Hike Albert Loop Trail at Eagle River Nature Center
  • Lodging at friends in Wasilla
Fri, Jun 12 Palmer/Wasilla:
  • 10:00 one hour Reindeer Farm Tour
  • 11:30 one hour horseback ride at Reindeer Farm
  • Quick lunch -- maybe at RW's Hamburger House?
  • Musk Ox Farm
  • Little Susitna River Overlook
  • Hatcher Pass to Independence Mine
  • Tour Independence Mine. If it is closed, we are allowed to still tour on our own but we prefer to have a tour guide if possible as we will learn more.
  • Hike Gold Cord Lake Trail. If it is too snowy still, then hike Blueberry Knoll Trail.
  • Thinking dinner at Hatcher Pass Lodge so we can do the above hike after dinner.
  • Lodging: at friends in Wasilla
Sat, Jun 13 Portage/Girdwood:
  • Make stops at mile markers 111 (McHugh Creek Day Use Area just to check out the small waterfall near the parking area), 110 (Beluga Point), 106.8 and 89.8 (scenic views)
  • Drop off camper at Williwaw Campground
  • quick lunch at Portage Glacier Lodge since it is so close
  • Moose Flats Day Use Area for short trail, pond, wiildlife
  • Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
  • Hike Lower Winner Creek Trail and take the hand tram. If hike all the way to Crow Creek Mine, take the bus back to town
  • After dinner somewhere, hike Williwaw Nature Trail if we feel like it.
  • Lodging: Williwaw Campground
Sun, Jun 14 Portage/Girdwood/Seward:
  • Pan for gold at Crow Creek Mine
  • Get sandwiches to eat while driving from The Bake Shop
  • Short hike to Virgin Creek Falls
  • Drive to Seward with stops at mile markers 75.5, 69.2, 68.1, 56.6, 53, 47.3, 45.4, 38.3 (scenic views), 37.8 (Jerome Lake view), 37.8 (Tern Lake Day Use area), 30, 22.9, 22.6, 21.8 (scenic views)
  • Drop off rv at Stoney Creek RV Park
  • EXIT Glacier (the shorter hikes, not the Harding Ice Field hike)
  • Lodging: Stoney Creek RV Park
Mon, Jun 15 Seward:
  • Walking Tour of Seward (we found this and the map on alaska dot org)
  • Alaska Sealife Center
  • Drive Lowell Point Road
  • After dinner if feel like it hike one of the following:
    • Tonsina Creek Trail
    • Resurrection River Trail
    • Meridian and Grayling Lakes Trail
    • Troop Lake Trail
    • Two Lakes Trail
  • Lodging: Stoney Creek RV Park
Tue, Jun 16 Seward:
  • 8.5 hour boat tour of Kenai Fjords through Major Marine Tours
  • If feel like it after dinner, hike one of the trails listed on Jun 15 above.
  • Lodging: Stoney Creek RV Park
Wed, Jun 17 Girdwood/Portage:
  • Drive from Seward to Williwaw Campground and drop off RV
  • Explore Begich, Boggs Visitor Center
  • Hike the very short Moraine Nature Trail at the center
  • Hike Byron Glacier Trail
  • Hike portion of Crow's Pass Trail to the glacier and back
  • Lodging: Williwaw Campground
Thu, Jun 18 Whittier:
  • Take the 8:30 entry through the Anderson Tunnel
  • Breakfast at Wild Catch Cafe' (unless you have better thoughts)
  • Explore the Prince William Sound Museum
  • Take the 12:30-5:30 Phillips 26 Glaciers Cruise
  • Hike Horsetail Falls Trail
  • Dinner at Swiftwater Seafood Cafe
  • Lodging: Williwaw Campground
Fri, Jun 19 Hope/Homer:
  • 9:00 whitewater rafting on Six Mile Creek with Chugach Outdoor Center (near Hope)
  • Check out the view at the Quartz Creek Boat Launch at Kenai Lake
  • If time, lunch at Gwin's Lodge. Otherwise something fast
  • Tour the K'beq' Interpretive Site. Tours end at 4:00
  • Explore Soldotna Visitor's Center
  • Stop at mile markers 127.1, 134.8, 142.6, 148 (scenic views) and the view from the rest area at 169.6
  • Drop off RV in Homer
  • After dinner, if time and energy, pick from the following:
    • Calvin & Coyle Nature Trail
    • Reber Trail
    • Pratt Museum Trail
    • Eveline State Recreational Area Trail
    • Skyline Drive Overlook
    • Gallery Row art galleries
    • Wynn Nature Center
    • Pratt Museum
    • Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center
    • Explore the Spit
  • Lodging: RV park
Sat, Jun 20: Homer:
  • Scenic Bear Viewing Flight with Martin
  • Depending on what time flight tour begins and ends (depends on weather for that day) and depending on which location we go (also weather) pick from the list above on Jun 19 to do things before and/or after bear tour.
  • Lodging: RV park
Sun, Jun 21: Homer/Wasilla/Anchorage:
  • Drive to Wasilla and clean camper
  • Depart at 4:50 flight from Anchorage to Seattle
  • Lodging: Seattle hotel
Mon, Jun 22 Seattle to Texas:
  • Fly with fee points on Southwest to Texas
  • Lodging: HOME!
Thanks for any input, restaurant recommendations, etc.
ferg42995 is offline  
Old Nov 23rd, 2019, 12:42 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 66,435
I'll have to come back later and read a bit more to wrap my head around a few of your days (and hopefully Gardyloo and some others will see your thread) . . . But your last day/June 21 jumped out at me. That is a long trek to catch a flight. Homer to Wasilla and back down to the airport is more than 6 hours car time plus how ever long it takes to clean the camper plus lunch and you'll want to be at ANC by 3PM at the very latest. Since the days are so long I might consider driving up to Wasilla the evening before.
janisj is offline  
Old Nov 23rd, 2019, 02:05 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 5,905
The first thing that struck me was that the Denali part of your trip should be put near the end of the trip as the park might not be open fully on June 9, unless there has been an early breakup.
emalloy is offline  
Old Nov 23rd, 2019, 02:22 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 10,479
Originally Posted by janisj View Post
I'll have to come back later and read a bit more to wrap my head around a few of your days (and hopefully Gardyloo and some others will see your thread) . . . But your last day/June 21 jumped out at me. That is a long trek to catch a flight. Homer to Wasilla and back down to the airport is more than 6 hours car time plus how ever long it takes to clean the camper plus lunch and you'll want to be at ANC by 3PM at the very latest. Since the days are so long I might consider driving up to Wasilla the evening before.
I agree with janisj. How do you get from Wasilla back to ANC after you clean out and return the RV? Stay at or near your friends place in Wasilla. The cheapest gas in Anchorage is at the Costco on the east side of town.
You have to put your Costco card into the pump before your credit card.
tomfuller is online now  
Old Nov 23rd, 2019, 06:00 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Posts: 4
I tried to reply already but I don't know where it went. Trying again! I am hoping this is our worst case scenario I have planned for. The bear viewing could start and end early in the day. Or it could start as late as 6 or 7 at night and end late at night. It all depends on the weather. If it ends really late, we will stay in Homer and get up really early to drive. If it ends at a decent time, we will drive to Wasilla that day and not be so pushed for time. Our friends will take us from Wasilla to Anchorage.

Regarding Denali, I thought I understood it opened the full road beginning June 1. Is that not so?

Thank you, everyone, for the feedback!
ferg42995 is offline  
Old Nov 24th, 2019, 02:33 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 25,184
Wow, you've done your homework!
We did not have a guide for Independence Mine just read different signs. A guide would be better. The restored buildings and photos are great. You'll already know how far from "civilization" it is yet think of how long it took to get there back when it was operating.
I bet your daughter would love reading more about the Iditarod. There are a lot of books. If you don't buy some ahead of time, Title Wave book store in Anchorage is a great source. She might want this tee shirt https://iditarodstore.com/apparel/t-...-iditarod.html She might also want to follow Junior Iditarod news this winter.
Check times for Pratt Museum. The Skyline drive doesn't take long. The overlook as you approach Homer has a great view of the Spit, too. Don't miss the Pratt.
Check time to drive Homer/Wasilla/Anchorage and when you have to get to airport. It's probably about a 6 hour drive. Do-able but pay attention to time. (I agree with Tom Fuller)
Since you're doing some of your own cooking, check if farmers markets are open. The one in Homer had fresh oysters.
Drive by Lake Hood in Anchorage (it was on our trolley tour) - think huge marina only it's sea planes not boats.
Potter Marsh: we didn't see many birds when we visited so it must have been wrong time of day. Check to see best time to visit.
The Kenai peninsula is probably best chance to see a moose. A mother and calf were hanging around a suburban neighborhood in Kenai when we visited. Places to check for moose https://www.alaska.org/destination/k.../moose-viewing
dfrostnh is offline  
Old Nov 24th, 2019, 07:39 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,710
Originally Posted by ferg42995 View Post
I tried to reply already but I don't know where it went. Trying again! I am hoping this is our worst case scenario I have planned for. The bear viewing could start and end early in the day. Or it could start as late as 6 or 7 at night and end late at night. It all depends on the weather. If it ends really late, we will stay in Homer and get up really early to drive. If it ends at a decent time, we will drive to Wasilla that day and not be so pushed for time. Our friends will take us from Wasilla to Anchorage.

Regarding Denali, I thought I understood it opened the full road beginning June 1. Is that not so?

Thank you, everyone, for the feedback!
When you first post on the forums, your frequency of posting is restricted. It will get better.

The "full" road, i.e. to Wonder Lake/Kantishna, usually opens at the end of the first week or the second week in June (the 2019 schedule showed June 8 for the full opening.) You ought to be able to get to the Eielson visitor center as of the first of the month, but remember that the park service will only open the road when they're sure it's safe to do so. If it's an unusually hard winter it might be delayed a day or two; unfortunately I can't find any listing of opening/closing dates for the road but they probably exist. Your current schedule (June 9) ought to be okay, but I guess I'd say that if you could rearrange things so that Denali is at the end of your stay rather than the beginning, it would add a measure of additional security. In general in Alaska, in late spring southern is better.

I also think the to-and-fro on the Seward Highway/Kenai Peninsula part of the trip doesn't make a lot of sense. If it was me, I'd head south from Anchorage all the way to Homer, with limited stops along the way, then work your way back up the Kenai to Seward, Hope, Portage/Whittier, Girdwood and Anchorage, then north back to Wasilla (and Denali.) Especially pulling a trailer, you're in for a lot of time suck navigating the Seward and Sterling Highways back and forth.

June is pretty early for bear viewing. Have you confirmed where they'll take you? I just have to wonder out loud if you might also look into bear flights from Anchorage, which are often comparably priced but which can also be changed to other flightseeing destinations/activities if weather or viewing conditions are sub-optimal. Remember you're talking about a spring, not summer, trip.

You've obviously done a lot of homework, good on you. I just wonder, however, if you might not think about a couple of - how to put it? - "major" revisions, just as thought experiments.

1. Off the road system, out to the bush. (Note I tend to be a broken record on this, apologies.) For around $300 per person (much less if you have any Alaska Airlines frequent flyer miles) you can fly round trip from Anchorage to Nome or Kotzebue, up in northwestern Alaska. Nome is an historic gold rush town on the Bering Sea, and possesses surprisingly good access to the interior of the Seward Peninsula. You can see "living history" (there's still a lot of gold mining going on, as well as relics of the gold rush of the early 1900s) as well as a lot of wildlife on the roads - muskoxen, moose, reindeer and caribou, lots of birds, maybe some bears... https://www.alaska.org/destination/nome/scenic-drives and https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cf...ewardpeninsula . Kotzebue is an Inupiat Eskimo community located on an inlet of the Arctic Ocean. It's located above the arctic circle; in early June you'll have 24 hours of sun. A "day" and a "night" in Kotzebue would be a revelation - stick a toe in the Arctic Ocean (maybe at midnight in full sun) or learn about the fascinating Native culture in this remarkable part of the world. The Native-owned Nullagvik Hotel is comfortable, across the street from the beach, and priced pretty similarly to hotels in Anchorage or Fairbanks.

Either (or both - served by the same plane) of these destinations would take you well off the beaten path, and would give you a view of Alaska that only a small percentage of visitors experience.



2. Sitka. For a modest change fee from your present plane tickets, you could stop in Sitka either heading north or south. Sitka is the prettiest town in Southeast Alaska; it was the capital of Russian America and boasts historic sites, whale watching, the Fortress of the Bear and Raptor Center, rain forest hikes, totem poles, rich Tlingit history... and all in stunning scenery. Sitka is bypassed by most big cruise ships as its harbor can't handle them, so it won't be as intense an experiment as the other Southeast cruise destinations.



Just sayin, maybe think out of the box a little.
Gardyloo is online now  
Old Nov 24th, 2019, 07:53 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 10,479
The bus routes out into Denali USUALLY open on June 1 as far as the Eilson Visitor Center (Mile Post 66). The dirt road past there may not be ready for bus travel. Any new bus drivers for the season take at least 1 training run with a seasoned driver in late May. The school buses do have the old windows that you can lower.
As for the moose that we saw in Alaska, we saw 1 mom moose with calf at a distance on the trip out in Denali. We saw a cow moose with yearling from the window of our B&B on the hill above Homer while we were eating breakfast one morning. We had a bull moose step up over the guard rail right in front of us between Homer and Soldatna. My wife braked pretty hard to avoid hitting him.
tomfuller is online now  
Old Nov 24th, 2019, 01:19 PM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Posts: 4
I give up. Trying to reply, quote, answer, etc. The forum rejects everything I do. But thank you, everyone. I tired to answer multiple times and every post kept getting rejected. This forum technology is ancient as if Fodor's doesn't want it to succeed. Frustrating. BUT THANK YOU for your tips.
ferg42995 is offline  
Old Nov 24th, 2019, 03:26 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,710
Originally Posted by ferg42995 View Post
I give up. Trying to reply, quote, answer, etc. The forum rejects everything I do. But thank you, everyone. I tired to answer multiple times and every post kept getting rejected. This forum technology is ancient as if Fodor's doesn't want it to succeed. Frustrating. BUT THANK YOU for your tips.
Please be patient. New posters' limits are an attempt to screen out spammers. I believe that you'll have much improved access once you've got 5 posts recorded. Until then, I think it's one post per day.
Gardyloo is online now  
Old Nov 24th, 2019, 06:37 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 66,435
Plus . . . your initial post was quite long -- were the posts you lost multi-quote and equally as long? It could have been something to do with your browser or who knows -- gremlins
janisj is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Yovi
United States
7
Nov 9th, 2019 01:27 PM
asimm
Europe
1
Sep 2nd, 2019 09:23 AM
witravelmom
United States
8
Aug 26th, 2019 08:53 AM
joaopdx
Asia
4
Aug 21st, 2019 09:54 PM
monkeymanmoi
United States
21
Mar 1st, 2019 06:54 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO