The Last Frontier

My trip in Alaska was one of the best adventures I had in the nature. I’ve dreamed about Alaska since my first months in the States, because during my first trip in Philly, there was a photographic exhibition at the Museum of Art and so many stunning pics about Alaska were shown and by looking at them I told myself: I must go! I travelled a lot during my two years and therefore there was no better destination for my travel month. The fact that Alaska is expensive is not a myth. This is probably the most expensive vacation I had and to give you an idea probably about 3000$ for two weeks. However I don’t regret I single dime. I’ll show you some pics, but to me they are not good enough to express the amazing beauty of that land.
It is also true that you have to be very well prepared and equipped to travel to Alaska because it can be dangerous for real, and after searching and googling for days I’ve decided to not take a solo tour because I didn’t feel ready and therefore I went with TrekAmerica. Needless to say that the guide you get makes the difference and I was very lucky to get an amazing one, Mike Harding. He has been to Alaska before and his experience and preparation really showed. Moreover he paid attention to everybody wishes and needs and that made my trip unforgettable.
Well, let’s start. I was there in July and in this time of the year there are almost 24hours sunlight. Something unbelievable that makes you full of energy and never tired.

DAY 1- Anchorage
My flight was from NYC to Anchorage and it took a full day of travel. I arrived late at night and thanks to a friend, I was able to stay with some relative of his for my first days there. That was already a good start because I could save the money of the accommodation and I got to experience some original Alaskan life.
GIRWOOD FOREST FAIR: It seems to be a very famous fair that take place every year (I know that because when I was searching for a couchsurfuer everybody replied me they were not in anchorage during these days, but at the fair so they couldn’t host) and it was held in a sort of park with many trees. Not the classic setting for a fair. We ate some street food, looked at all the stands that were selling handmade products and even watched some shows of people performing live.
BELUGA POINT SITE: We stopped there on the way back to Anchorage and we even saw the Bore!

Late afternoon we came back to anchorage and went to buy some fresh salmon for dinner. Clearly the best one I have ever had and it was also deliciously cooked.
After dinner their son (a couple of years younger than me) showed me the city, because it was never dark.
DOWNTOWN ANCHORAGE: it is quite small, but cute. Worth a walk

DAY 2 – Anchorage
Anchorage has a beautiful trail that goes along the entire coastline. The family I was staying with borrowed me a bike and I bike rode the whole day.
TONY KNOWLES COASTAL TRAIL – Entrance at W 2nd Ave, Anchorage, AK
KINCAID PARK – 6998 Raspberry Rd, Anchorage, AK 99502-1858
I bike rode from the first park to second one and I really enjoyed it. The view along the trail was amazing and I even saw mom moose and its baby very close. Basically few steps away.

DAY 3 – Kenai
Today I meet my travel buddies and Mike and after the introductions and some papers we started our adventure.
BEAR MOUNTAIN TRAIL
On our way to Homer we stopped to hike up this beautiful trail. It is not very long, but very steep, however the view is stunning and really worth the hike. You may encounter in bears while hiking up this trail. I used my bear bell, to make them aware we were there.

DAY 4 – Homer
Homer is the halibut fishing capital of the world and if you want you can go Halibut fishing with some professional fisherman.
I’ve decided to simply tour the town, visit all the shops of the spit, the harbor and then go for a hike.
Homer is also the city were the American roads end. And we drove to the very end!
KACHEMAK BAY
BELUGA SLOUGH TRAIL – BISHOPS BEACH
They are two natural beaches and you can see a lot of people taking a walk there. We spent few hours in both places
SALTY DAWG SALOON – 4380 Homer Spit Rd, Homer, AK 99603, USA
It is known to be the most famous bar in homer and in fact it was packed. We stopped there for a drink and to relax.

DAY 5 – Seward
Our first day in Seward even if a little bit Rainy was amazing. It was full of interesting activities and I loved every single one of them. Late afternoon we wandered downtown and went gift shopping.
EXIT GLACIER
It wasn’t a long or tough hike, but once on the top you can see the glacier very close. What I found really interesting was all the signs that show and explain how much the landscape changed and the glacier got smaller due to climate changes in the last few years. It was really impressive
IDIDARIDE DOG SLED TOUR
Even though there was no snow anymore on the trail the tour was lots of fun.
Once we arrived at center, we met all the dogs and we got divided into groups. We were about 6 per sled. The dogs were super excited to run, very strong and even funny. It was a 2 miles trail and after we got to cuddle the puppies that were recently born. After some furry cuddles we had a class in which we were taught everything about the dogs, the sport and even how competitions work. It wasn’t excessively long and was the perfect conclusion to the activity. I really recommend it.

DAY 6 – Kenai Fjords
MAJOR MARINE CRUISE
The entire day was dedicated to the cruise and probably thanks to the rainy chilly weather we spotted tons of animals! Such an amazing experience!
While cruising around the Fjords the landscape was simply amazing. The guide we had also very well prepared. He told us lots of curiosities about glaciers, fjords and wild animals and every time he spotted a whale, a puffin or a killer whale told us on the microphone so that we could take pics. The boat slowed down or stopped every time there was something cool therefore we enjoyed every single moment of the cruise and no rush was felt.
During our longest ride with no landscape lunch was served. That allowed us to not lose any precious view or spotting and everything was really good. I had Salmon and I enjoyed it.

DAY 7 – Talkeetna
We drove most of the day to reach Denali, but we made a stop in Talkeetna. It is a small town few hours before arriving to Denali, probably the last one. It is very touristic in my opinion, in fact it was full of people and there are lots of shops along the main road. From there, if the sky is clear you can have a good view of Denali. We happened to be quite lucky, very few people can actually say that were able to see Denali because it is always covered by clouds. We could see the top and even if it was partially clouded it was still very exciting.

DAY 8 – Denali 
This was another unforgettable day. For the whole day we went on a shuttle tour inside Denali National Park and not only the park some beautiful, with amazing mountains and awesome views that make you feel so small in a huge world, but we also got to see a lot of wildlife. Everytime somebody on the shuttle was spooting something had to shout “stop” so the bus could stop and we could take pics or just look at the animals. The best moment to me was when we saw a mother grizzly with her three cubs few feet far from us.
Also at Eielson visitor center I think there was one of the best spot to take pics.
49th STATE BREWERY in Healy. There, there is the original reconstruction of Into the wild’s bus so we stopped there and took lots of pic with the whole group before dinner.

DAY 9 – Denali, Tangle Lakes
I spent my morning still hiking at Denali and in the afternoon we drove all the way to Tangle Lakes where we stopped to spend the night, but first we went for an hike there as well.
All hikes had wonderful trails and landscapes and I’m glad I did them
HORSESHOE LAKE TRAIL – Denali
TAIGA TRAIL AND MEADOW VIEW TRAIL – Denali
These two Denali’s hikes were connected and all together were about 7miles long. The weather also was sunny and warm. Perfect way to start the day
MCCLAREN SUMMIT TRAIL – Tangle Lakes
It is mostly tundra around you, something very different from all the previous hikes.

DAY 10 – Wrangell St. Elias, McCarthy
We spent another whole day driving to reach the last stop of our trip. The Wrangell St.Elias National Park. The entire road wasn’t paved and our guide told us that very often cars get a flat tire while driving there and that happened to him as well. In fact we were carrying extra tires just in case. It would have been a pity to have our trip ruined by a flat tire!
We had to drive very slow due to the road conditions, but finally we made it.
McCarthy is an incredibly small town (133 people in 2014), but had the charm of a very old, stuck in time, town. In our free time we walked up and down the main street and went eating to the only restaurant there and was a good experience.

DAY 11 – Kennecott
My last day in Alaska couldn’t be more unforgettable. I hiked for half of the day the Root Glacier and then, the rest of the day I took the Mill Tour.
ROOT GLACIER
It was simply amazing. Once arrived at the officeI got all the equipment I needed and then we walked our way to the glacier. During the walk we started socializing with the guide that told us lots or curious informations.
Then we put our crampons on and started the hike. The colors, the rivers, the canyons… all so stunning. Close to lunch time we had our meal on the glacier and the guide brought hot chocolate for all of us.
It was a really nice morning and I think everybody should have this experience.
MILL TOUR
The mill tour concluded the day and it was nice to learn everything about the mill and how important kennecott was in the past.

DAY 12 – Anchorage
We drove back to Anchorage and there I had my flight that would have bring me back home.

WHERE I SLEPT
No place was a fancy hotel. All of them have the spartan alaskan feeling. And honestly it was quite good for this kind of trip.
ANCHORAGE: Friend’s house
HOMER: Seaside Farm
SEWARD: Moby Dick’s 
DENALI: Denali Motel and RV 
TANGLE LAKES: McClaren River Lodge 
WRANGLELL ST. ELIAS: Lancaster 

WHAT TO EAT
Clearly you have to try Salmon and Halibut.
For the rest Mike cooked for us most of the time and he was an excellent cook able of make miracles with what we had. Not only the food was tasty, but also made us save some money.

Well what can i say now? Enjoy your time in Alaska. It will always be in your heart!
Susa

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