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Trip Report - June 2009 - Denali, Seward, Soldatna, Homer

Boulder, Colorado
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Trip Report - June 2009 - Denali, Seward, Soldatna, Homer

We spent two full weeks in Alaska from June 10 - 24th and it was definitely the vacation of a lifetime! (It was so lifechanging, that my husband & I are returning at the end of July without kids to experience some more!) All of our photos are posted online at this link:

www.tinyurl.com/beatonalaska

In another post, someone asked if I would do a trip report....so I just figured out what that is!

June 10-11

Flew into Anchorage and spent two nights at the Holiday Inn Express at the Airport. Got caught up on sleep & got our bearings. Visited the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce and drove to Beluga Point as they recommended - very worthwhile drive less 30 minutes south of Anchorage - depending on the number of stops for photos!

June 12

Drove to Denali, stayed at Grizzly Lodge, drove in to Savage River Trail in the Park, ATV trip out Stampede Road.

June 13

Drove down Denali Highway in the rain - saw NO wildlife!

Drove to Talkeetna & stayed at the Alaska Talkeetna Lodge.

www.talkeetnalodge.com

Great place to stay, great views of McKinley when the weather is right (it wasn't when we were there) -but higher end than we really needed ($300/night)

June 14-15

Drove to Seward & stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Seward. Took 6 hour Kenai Fjords tour through Renown Tours.

June 16-18

Stayed in Soldatna at A Wandering Moose on the Kenai River - 3 days of salmon fishing. Amazing! We did two days of guided fishing in a driftboat through Kenai River Fly Fishing & brought home 50 pounds of silver salmon.

June 19-22

Flew from to Alaska Homestead Lodge in Lake Clark National Park (130 air miles SW of Anchorage) via Natron Air.

www.alaskahomesteadlodge.com

AMAZING experience - the HIGHLIGHT of our trip! Expensive, but worth every penny! Grizzlies roaming the front lawn of the lodge - no roads, no grocery stores - just wilderness! The hosts at the Homestead were amazing and served 3 homecooked meals a day & made us feel like family!

June 23rd

Stayed in Homer at Lands End Resort - great stay. If we had two days there would have gone Halibut fishing - but we stayed an extra day at Lake Clark National Park instead.

June 24th

Flew Home - so sad! (but we'll be back soon!)

Recommendations that helped us & a few we added ourselves:

- bring eyeshades for sleeping if you're not used to Alaska's summers and all that light!

- bring LOTS of raingear - so you can enjoy the wilderness even when it's raining

- don't plan on seeing McKinley, even if you're at Denali, as most people don't due to cloud cover

- do NOT take a cheap rental car down the Denali Highway (we got a flat tire)

- don't need to bring too much luggage, as we found a Fred Meyer in most large cities and could buy ANYTHING there that we forgot

- why did I bring a curling iron? never needed in 2 weeks there....

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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1. Re: Trip Report - June 2009 - Denali, Seward, Soldatna, Homer

Oh, your photography is simply amazing!! I loved all the bear photos especially, but they were all very good. Sounds like you need more time here in the Park - would love to see your photos of it. Thanks so much for taking the time to report! I'll be looking forward to your other trip you are taking in July! :)

Elk Grove, IL
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2. Re: Trip Report - June 2009 - Denali, Seward, Soldatna, Homer

Great report and fantasic pictures. I have a question regarding your ATV rental. Did you use Denali ATV? Would you recommend doing this?

You are so lucky that you will be going back at the end of July. What are your plans for the July trip?

fti
MN
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3. Re: Trip Report - June 2009 - Denali, Seward, Soldatna, Homer

Thanks for the great report. I would love to get to Lake Clark NP myself some day.

I am curious why you went to Denali but didn't take a shuttle bus into the park.

And I too would love to know where you are going the end of July :-)

John

Boulder, Colorado
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4. Re: Trip Report - June 2009 - Denali, Seward, Soldatna, Homer

We did use Denali ATV Adventures - we enjoyed it but didn't LOVE this experience, as we have done quite a bit of ATVing (or at least my husband has). The kids loved it, but it was dusty and really no hope of seeing wildlife if you weren't in the first vehicle.

We DID try to get on the bus into the Park but we didn't book far enough in advance, and could not work in the times they had available. We also live in the mountains of Colorado around 14,000 peaks, so the terrain was similar to home (but much more wildlife at Denali!)

We ate both lunch and breakfast at the Salmon Bake in Healy - love that place!

Boulder, Colorado
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5. Re: Trip Report - June 2009 - Denali, Seward, Soldatna, Homer

oops - I forgot to say where we're heading in July (just 2 weeks away!)....

We wanted to see a lot in June and were with our family of 4 (kids 9 and 11) - and my husband had to limit his fishing time to balance family time.

This trip (just the two of us - no kids) we are heading straight for the Alaska Homestead Lodge at Lake Clark National Park for 3 nights where he can fish day and night, and I can photograph bears....and he's going to teach me to flyfish. And then we are going to spend 3 days fishing on the Kenai River. One or two days in a drift boat through Kenai River Fly Fishing.

He really got bitten by the Alaska bug, and his work has been quite slow lately (construction) - so this is an investment in our relationship and time outdoors and a really big splurge for us! Sometimes you need to do that!

Noname
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6. Re: Trip Report - June 2009 - Denali, Seward, Soldatna, Homer

A Wandering Moose on the Kenai River in SOLDOTNA (not Soldatna) is very nice

Groveland, FL
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7. Re: Trip Report - June 2009 - Denali, Seward, Soldatna, Homer

Fabulous pictures Colorado4ever! Thanks for taking time to post the photos and to write the informative trip report. My husband (a wannabe photographer) and I (a wannabe writer) are planning our first trip to Alaska in September. I have been pouring over all the recent trip reports to glean as much "insider" knowledge as possible in advance of the trip. Your report added a lot to my growing data base of dos and don'ts. We'll be looking forward to your July trip report as well.

Thanks again!

Boulder, Colorado
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8. Re: Trip Report - June 2009 - Denali, Seward, Soldatna, Homer

Pat - we love the Wandering Moose - but they are completely booked during our next trip - so sad. And THANK YOU for pointing out my spelling on Soldotna - I've had that wrong for MONTHS now & just keep going with it - now I see why I had trouble googling some things there! LOL!

GMom&GDad - Yes, go for it on the writing and the photography and share your work after your trip! So many folks in history have been moved by Alaska - and have written & photographed there.

I'm going to make sure I read all the popular Alaska stories...... but I'm not reading Grizzly Maze (Timothy Treadwell's story) until after this trip! We've seen the Discovery channel features in the past - but I think I'll stay away from the details of that story until we're safely back in Colorado in August!

Harrisburg...
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9. Re: Trip Report - June 2009 - Denali, Seward, Soldatna, Homer

Loved the report, blog, and photos. Sounds like the whole family really enjoyed themselves. It must be great to be returning to AK so soon.

I am a big Lake Clark fan and stayed at Silver Salmon Creek Lodge in 2007. Loved the whole area and hope to return in the next couple of years. Don't worry about Timothy Treadwell's outcome. I talked to several people who actually had contact with him and also watched the movie and researched the years he spent at Lake Clark. Pure and simple - he forgot bears are wild animals and counted on their complete acceptance of him. Good bear behavior on our part prevents getting in trouble.

Anchorage, AK
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10. Re: Trip Report - June 2009 - Denali, Seward, Soldatna, Homer

To my knowledge Timothy Treadwell didn't spend time in Lake Clark though. He spent 13 summers in Katmai National Park - namely Hallo Bay and Kaflia Bay.