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Talkeetna to Matanuska Glacier

Tennessee
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Talkeetna to Matanuska Glacier

We are planning our 20th anniversary trip to Alaska and have a itinerary question. We are spending 3 days in Talkeetna - one day flightseeing to Denali and seeing the park and then back to Talkeetna. One day fishing. We would like to drive over to the Matanuska Glacier and do the "Ice Fall Trek" with MICA Guides. How long of a drive is it from Talkeetna - staying at the Paradise Lodge to the Matanuska Glacer. Is this too much to do in 3 days? From Talkeetna we are going to spend 3 days in Seward and 3 in Homer. Helpppppp. Thanks.

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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1. Re: Talkeetna to Matanuska Glacier

It should take you about 3 1/2 to 4 hours to drive from Talkeetna to the Matanuska Glacier, as it's about an hour drive out of Palmer. Too bad you are going to be in Denali for 2 or 3 days as well - maybe you need to extend?? :)

New York
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2. Re: Talkeetna to Matanuska Glacier

I would allow 3 hours for the drive.

Manitoba, Canada
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3. Re: Talkeetna to Matanuska Glacier

Hi yomaryjo. I assume by "flightseeing to Denali and seeing the park", you mean the combo flight-Tundra bus tour?

Might I suggest you spend just 2 days at Talkeetna, and the 3rd travel to Matansuaka for the 2 p.m. Ice Fall Trek, and overnight near there (list of accommodations is on MICA's website).

The next morning you can travel down to Seward (Matanuska is 2 hrs. from Anchorage plus there likely will be construction delays too--check the MICA site for the construction website). Seward is 2.5 to 3 hrs. more, and of course I'm sure you'll have lots of stops along the way: http://alaska.org/driving/seward-drive.htm

"Is this too much to do in 3 days?"

Well, not in my opinion, if you like keeping busy. And the day of fishing in between ought to be pretty relaxing.

BTW, congrats on your 20th! :-)

South Bend, IN
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4. Re: Talkeetna to Matanuska Glacier

Hi--you will love the flight-seeing--if the day is right, it will bring tears to your eyes--but please, spend a day in the Park. You will NOT be sorry. Denali is so unique--not like any other national park in the US (or probably the world). You guys sound pretty adventurous--you could do a little hiking--get on and off the shuttle. enjoy

Michigan
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for Alaska
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5. Re: Talkeetna to Matanuska Glacier

How difficult is it to do this ice trekking people are talking about? Do you need to be in good physical shape to do something like this. Thanks. If you want to explore on your own, how much time would you need. We are planning on driving up from Anchorage and then heading to Talkeetna for the night.

Ward, AR
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6. Re: Talkeetna to Matanuska Glacier

I wouldn't say it was difficult. I'm almost 40 lbs over what my ideal weight. there are several stops to look at crevasses and talk about how the glacier is forming/moving. they give you crampons to put on over your hiking boots. you can't go very far on your own at all. the ice is just too slick and hospitals are too far for that. there were a couple of kids wandering around the edge on the glacier. we went so much further out than they could. it was very fun and really cool to be walking in a glacier. really recommend this trip.

Ward, AR
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7. Re: Talkeetna to Matanuska Glacier

be sure to take your camera or camcorder. neck strap or wrist strap for camera would be ok. we didn't take our nicer cameras or the camcorder since we weren't sure how difficult it would be to hang on to those or if it'd be a pain having them swinging around our necks. definitely layer your clothing. and take hats and gloves.

Michigan
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for Alaska
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8. Re: Talkeetna to Matanuska Glacier

For those of you who have done this hike, did you make your reservations ahead or just book the day you took the hike. Thanks.

Ward, AR
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9. Re: Talkeetna to Matanuska Glacier

we went the beginning of september. booked trip ahead of time. there were only 4 of us on the trek, 2 others went along for ride to glacier to climb. it is a little out of the way, so may not be much of a problem to get a booking. you may just want to e-mail them to find out how busy they will be if you really don't want to book ahead. but, I'd hate to drive that far just to find out there is no room that day for you.

Upstate NY
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10. Re: Talkeetna to Matanuska Glacier

happytraveler49

Regarding your question about the ice trekking, let me copy a section from a wonderful trip report by LarryF on cruisecritic.com His report is very lengthy but very worthwhile reading! I'm copying a small section but I recommend you take time to read much more of his report. Here's what LarryF says:

I think it’s best to describe our experience on the Glacier through Amy’s point of view. While neither of us had ever trekked on ice before, this experience for her was a kind of a breakthrough. Amy has never been one to take a walk on the wild side and in a way this expedition became Amy’s Mount Everest. She told me afterwards, she felt a great sense of accomplishment. She described the time on the ice as an awakening of all her 5 senses and I think that’s the way I would describe the experience as well. It was a neat feeling as your feet dug into the ice with the steel blades of the crampons and the crunching sound the ice made let us know we weren’t back home in Florida walking on the beach. As we viewed crevices in the ice that were so incredibly blue it just didn’t seem real, you noticed how clean and fresh the glacier air was as you took in each breath. We stopped and took a drink from one of the crystal clear glacial springs and it tasted cleaner and fresher than any water I’d ever had. The glacier ice was so cold we could even feel it through our gloves. The hiking was not strenuous at all. Liz closely assessed our skills and laid out a path to match our skill set. She told us there were several ways to get around the Glacier and if any of us had any problems she could always find a different way to get us around.

The three hours really flew by and I wish we could have stayed on the ice longer. There is a 6 hour Trek but it involved climbing that I’m not sure I could handle and I know Amy wouldn’t be able to. I would imagine if you have enough people that they could personalize a longer trip for a large group.

The temperature continued to increase and about half way through the hike, both Amy and I had removed several layers and put them in her backpack which turned out to be small blessing. On our way back to the picnic table in the rocky part of the ice, Amy stepped on one of the rocks from a weird angle and she stumbled and began falling backwards. It happened so fast, I could only watch helplessly as she fell, but fortunately when her back hit the rocky surface, her backpack that was loaded with our fleece jackets broke her fall. It was a scary moment at first, but Amy bounced up laughing and the only think that was hurt was her pride! But she did really well and would go back in a heart beat.

Hope this helps!