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Need Help with Trip Itinerary

Miami, Florida
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Need Help with Trip Itinerary

Accidentally posted this in the wrong forum, so I'll try again:

I'm trying to put together an itinerary for next June/July. Can anyone give their thoughts/suggestions about this, such as whether this is possible, am I trying to do too much, etc.?

Thanks!

Arrive Wed., June 23-- Anchorage

Thurs, June 24--take train from Anchorage to Seward; overnight in Seward

Fri. June 25-Sun., June 27--Kenai Fjords Cruise(already reserved)

Sunday overnight in Seward

Monday, June 28--train from Seward to Anchorage

Rent RV from Anchorage to Denali; stop somewhere between Anchorage and Denali for the night.

Tues., June 29--arrive in Denali; camping at Tek

Wed. June 30--Denali; camping at Tek

Thurs. July 1--Denali; camping at Tek

Fri. July 2--drive from Denali to Anchorage; overnight in Anchorage

Sat. July 3--fly from Anchorage to Juneau; overnight in Juneau

Sun. July 4-- Juneau

Mon. July 5--fly from Juneau to Glacier Bay

Tues. July 6--Glacier Bay

Wed., July 7--fly from Glacier Bay to Juneau; fly from Juneau to Anchorage

overnight in Anchorage

Thurs. July 8-- rent car from Anchorage to Homer

Fri. July 9--possibly fly from Homer to Brooks Falls and spend night at campground

Sat., July 10-- fly from Brooks Falls to Homer; drive to Anchorage

Sun., July 11 fly from Anchorage back home

Alaska
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1. Re: Need Help with Trip Itinerary

Others will likely give you more detailed advice. I will recommend stopping overnight at Byers Lake on the way to Denali. At mile 148 that will give you a beautiful place and time to stop, as well as an opportunity to gather some firewood for your camping at Tek. That is pretty well picked over and it is much more convenient to take some in with you.

Some may suggest you try to combine the Seward and the Homer trip to reduce miles traveled, but the train trip to and from will show you beautiful landscape from two perspectives, as well as giving you an opportunity to enjoy the best things twice. The one suggestion I have is that you plan your highway stops on the Seward Highway as you drive south, since you will be on the ocean side of the highway. It will be much, much safer to pull in and out. Trying to do the same thing headed north can be dangerous with the heavy traffic, and in some places it is illegal. Please observe the rule for RV's to pull over and let followers pass if you have more than 5 cars stacked up behind you. It reduces frustration and danger created by people trying to pass you. Of course, if you and traffic are traveling at the same speed, that is different...

Manitoba, Canada
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2. Re: Need Help with Trip Itinerary

Hi. A couple of comments:

First, you have "Monday, June 28--train from Seward to Anchorage. Rent RV from Anchorage to Denali; stop somewhere between Anchorage and Denali for the night."

The train arrives after 10 pm. You can't get your RV that late and drive anywhere. You have over 3 days allowed for Seward, but except for the Kenai Fjords tour, haven't told us what else you plan to do there. I suggest you take the train to Anchorage on Sunday night (6 pm). Pick up the RV Monday morning (allow time for orientation), maybe do a couple of activities in/near Anchorage or explore Matsu valley, then drive to Talkeetna or Byers Lake to overnight. Or you could drive all the way to Denali, and free up a day later on for something else.

Second, I'm not sure why you're renting a car and driving to Homer, unless you find out you can't do an overnight at Brooks Falls. With your plans including an overnight, you'd fly from Anchorage. With time saved with not driving to Homer, you could stay a 2nd day in Brooks and maybe do the Valley of 1000 smokes tour, or some other activity, or more bear-watching. If for some reason you want to see Homer anyway, then while you're in Seward, rent a car for a couple of days and drive there. Doesn't make sense to keep backtracking.

Third, speaking of backtracking, is there some reason you fly from Juneau back to Anchorage again? I suggest leaving the Juneau part of your trip to the end, then fly home from Juneau (via Seattle). IMO you're spending too much time overnighting in Anchorage and waiting for planes.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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3. Re: Need Help with Trip Itinerary

" . . . as well as an opportunity to gather some firewood for your camping at Tek. That is pretty well picked over and it is much more convenient to take some in with you."

Is this permitted at Tek/Denali? I think I read somewhere that you cannot bring in firewood due to the beatle infestation (or whatever is killing trees in AK).

USA
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4. Re: Need Help with Trip Itinerary

We haul in our own personally cut firewood from home when when we take a group of friends to Tek. The bundle prices at the mercantile & quick shops are very expensive. Gotta have those marshmallows!

Here are the regs from reservedenali:

"While fire pits are available at most campgrounds, firewood is not. You must bring your own wood with you from outside the park. It is available at many convenience and grocery stores and can also be purchased at the Riley Creek Mercantile. It is legal to take downed wood around the campground to use at campsites, but this is in very scarce supply so if you truly desire a campfire please pack in your own wood."

Edited: 11 December 2009, 06:26
Miami, Florida
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5. Re: Need Help with Trip Itinerary

Thanks for all the great advice!

The reason I was backtracking to Homer was because I thought I could only get to Brooks Falls from Homer. I was trying to delay this as much as possible with the hope that I could catch the salmon run.

I hadn't thought about flying out of Juneau. I'll have to look into that. Is it worth the extra expense of going to Juneau and the Inside Passage if I'm already doing a 3 day/2 night cruise at Kenai Fjords?

How safe is it driving an RV from Anchorage to Denali? We've never driven one. I would have preferred to drive a car, but I was told cars aren't allowed at the Tek campground.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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6. Re: Need Help with Trip Itinerary

DenaliCat thanks for the clarification on the firewood situation at Denali.

Manitoba, Canada
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7. Re: Need Help with Trip Itinerary

"I was trying to delay this as much as possible with the hope that I could catch the salmon run"

Well, according to these sites, all of July should be good for seeing bears:

nps.gov/katm/planyourvisit/bear-watching.htm

www.katmailand.com/bear-viewing/faq.html

"Is it worth the extra expense of going to Juneau and the Inside Passage if I'm already doing a 3 day/2 night cruise at Kenai Fjords?"

You're the only one who can decide that. Which cruise are you doing?

"How safe is it driving an RV from Anchorage to Denali? We've never driven one."

Not sure what you mean by "safe". The highway is in great condition (though it has two-way traffic), and several people have posted here that they drove an RV for the first time in Alaska and did just fine. I'd suggest test-driving one either at a dealer or owned by a friend, to give you an idea what to expect.

"I would have preferred to drive a car, but I was told cars aren't allowed at the Tek campground."

Yes, cars are allowed at Tek, as are tents. Just remember whatever vechicle you take to Tek must remained parked at all times. The only travel allowed is by foot or shuttle, and you can't go back to the entrance. Well, you can, but you'd have to buy a shuttle ticket to get back. Your Tek Pass wouldn't be any good east of Tek.

Manitoba, Canada
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8. Re: Need Help with Trip Itinerary

Is this the Seward tour you're going on: wildnatureimages.com/Photo-Tours/Kenai-Fjord… ? If so, I hope you noted that there is no refund if it is cancelled due to bad weather.

Being on the water all that time, you probably will see whales at some point. Spending so much time near the glaciers (especially Aialik) you should see some calving. Were there other reasons you wanted to go to Juneau? If those are your priorities and you decide to skip Juneau, you might include a far less expensive "back-up" out of Whittier of a long day whale-watch with Icy Bay add-on (glacier) with Sound Eco ( http://www.soundecoadventure.com/ ), but his early July dates are already getting booked, so don't take too long in deciding.

Am I correct in assuming you are most interested in wildlife & scenery? If you decide to rent the RV and make sure it is with a company that allows you to drive on the scenic Denali Hwy (car rental companies don't), you might want to leave Juneau for another time (maybe an Alaskan cruise that includes Glacier Bay?) and consider something like this for next year:

Arrive Wed., June 23-- arrive Anchorage

Thurs, June 24--take train from Anchorage to Seward; overnight in Seward

Fri. June 25 -Sun., June 27--Kenai Fjords Cruise(already reserved)

Sunday overnight in Seward

Monday, June 28 - activities in Seward (SeaLife Center, Exit Glacier, Ididaride or Godwin Glacier sled dog tours), 6 pm train from Seward to Anchorage

Tues. June 29 - Rent RV, get supplies, drive from Anchorage toward Denali; stop maybe Byers Lake to overnight.

Wed. June 30 - arrive in Denali; camping at Tek

Thurs. July 1- Denali; camping at Tek

Fri. July 2- Denali; camping at Tek

Sat. July 3 – entrance activities at Denali, then drive to Paxson via scenic Denali Hwy., maybe do a wildlife float or other tour with Denali Hwy Cabins

Sun. July 4 – Drive to scenic Matanuska Glacier area to overnight.

Mon. July 5 – Ice trek on Matanuska Glacier or explore Matsu Valley area, drive to Williwaw CG near Whittier to overnight, many stops along the way.

Tues July 6 – long day whale-watching with Icy Bay add-on with Sound Eco. Overnight Williwaw.

Wed. July 7 – drive back to Anchorage to return RV. Late morning/early afternoon flight to Brooks. Overnight Brooks CG

Thurs. July 8 – Brooks. Maybe Valley of 1000 Smokes tour. Overnight Brooks CG

Fri. July 9 – Brooks. Late afternoon/early evening flight back to Anchorage (or can stay an extra night at Brooks—I think you’re allowed to stay 3 nights in July—and fly back to Anch. early tomorrow).

Sat. July 10 – rent a car for the day for activities in/near Anchorage. 10:25 pm flight back to Miami, arrives 1 pm Sunday.

I hope this gives you a few ideas to consider.

fti
MN
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9. Re: Need Help with Trip Itinerary

Wow, I think Manitoba Maple is a walking Alaska encyclopedia, a good detective, or both! How did you find that photo tour link?!?

Though I love Glacier Bay, I certainly would not hop from Anchorage to Juneau and back to Anchorage, I would either start or end in Juneau. And since you obviously can't start there, either end there or skip it.

I like Manitoba's itinerary. You will really enjoy spending three nights at Tek. Be sure to get the Tek Pass for your travels inside the park.

And be sure to book Brooks Campground in early January. They do fill up by late January for many July dates.

John

Manitoba, Canada
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10. Re: Need Help with Trip Itinerary

"How did you find that photo tour link?!?"

Piece of cake. All I did was google "kenai fjords cruise June 25", et voila. First entry was the NW cruise, so I knew that wasn't it. Second entry was the link above. It seemed a likely prospect, so I didn't look past that, though of course the OP might be on a different tour. Even if he is, though, I imagine it would cover pretty much the same things. We'll know soon enough....