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Tentative Itinerary for Aug 27-Sept 10th, 2011

Boston...
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Tentative Itinerary for Aug 27-Sept 10th, 2011

Dear TAs,

After much communication with Manitoba Maple (she came up with the initial itinerary suggestion in the first place and then I edited it a bit, and I can't thank her enough for helping us!), here is a tentative itinerary we have planned for our 14 day trip to Alaska (our first) - August 27th - September 10th. Have already booked our flights and car rental (for $800 for 14 days).

Please review and let us know your opinion on this. We are basically interested in mainly adventure activities which Maple has nicely covered, at the same time we don't to fit too much in our day. We want to spend more time in each interesting place rather than covering every single thing in this trip!

Also budget wise we have budgeted about $1300pp for activities. Some room to add smaller activities in addition to the ones below.

For accommodation we would like to spend $100-$120 a night on an average. We have figured out accommodation for the first half of the trip, need to work on the second half now.

We wanted opinion and suggestions on anything we should include for things to do, we are particularly also looking to see 'bear catching salmons' etc. Anything particular for this time of the year that we should look for.

August 27th - Land in Anchorage at 11:30 pm, Pick up Hertz, Backpackers Inn (Reserved but might cancel it, saw some bad reviews on TA about it, book Elderberry Bed and Breakfast instead??

August 28th - Drive to Seward, Overnight Bear Paw Lodge, Scenic stops: Potter Marsh, Beluga Pt, Windy pt, Wildlife CC, alaska.org/driving/seward-drive, Copper Landing?? Pickup supplies. Anything else that can be added here?

Aug 29th - 1st day of 2 day package for Kayaking w/ Kayaak.com, Aialik Bay,Overnight Bear Paw Lodge

Aug 30th - 2nd day of the 2 day tour - for Exit Glacier 9am hike, Overnight Bear Paw Lodge Exit Glacier Hike, Sealife Center etc.

Aug 31st - Drive to Hope (late morning), Nova - six Mile Creek Rafting - 2 pm for 2 canyons, Overnight Hatcher Pass B&B

September 1st - Explore Hatcher PAss/Independence Mine in the morning and Drive to Denali, Overnight Denali Bluff Hotel, Stop in Wasilla for supplies/snacks

September 2nd - Drive to Takeetna for 10:30 am flightseeing tour K2 aviation - Mt. Mckinley Flyer - Toursaver. Afternoon drive to the park entrance, see some wildlife etc. Overnight Denali Bluff Hotel

September 3rd - Shuttle to Wonder Lake, hiking. Overnight Denali Bluff Hotel. Need suggestions on hikes there and other things to watch for.

September 4th - Shuttle to Wonder Lake, hiking, Denali Bluff Hotel

September 5th - Third day shuttle to Wonder Lake (not sure if it would be work spending the 3rd day) If not, drive to Fairbanks, Overnight Fairbanks - suggestions? Things/ACtivities to do????

September 6th - Day in Fairbanks, Drive to Delta Junction Overnight in Fairbanks or Delta Junction - suggestions? Things/Activities to do????

September 7th - Drive Valdez (5hrs), detour west at Paxson, Denali Highway, Overnight Valdez - suggestions? Stop by Keystone Canyon, Worthington Glacier etc. Fish Hatchery.

September 8th - Full day Columbia Glacier kayaking, Overnight Valdez - suggestions? www.anadyradventures.com

September 9th - Drive back to Anchorage - 8hrs, Overnight Anchorage - suggestions? Nice dinner - suggestions

September 10th - Spend the day in Anchorage - national heritage center, biking etc. or drive to Matanuska Glacier and do the Lion head rafting trip if we dont make it on the Six Mile Creek rafting trip. Drive to Anchorage and Fly out late night

Thanks much!

Khyati

New England
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1. Re: Tentative Itinerary for Aug 27-Sept 10th, 2011

It is always a good idea to listen to Manitoba Maple as she is a marvel with itineraries. However, one thing I would question on yours is Sept 1 and 2. On Sept 1 you are driving to Denali from Hatcher Pass, a route that will take you right past the Talkeetna Spur Road (14 miles in to Talkeetna) to spend the night at Denali Bluffs. On Sept 2 you are planning to drive 140 miles BACK to the Talkeetna Spur Road so that you can go on a flightseeing tour. You are talking almost 300 miles round trip since you are going back to Denali that night. And if for some reason the flight is cancelled (usually weather) you will have spent a lot of time in the car. Have you considered spending the night of September 1 in Talkeetna, doing the flight on Sept 2 and then driving to Denali? You said you had booked lodging for the first half but not sure where you consider the half.

You also are wondering if a third day on a shuttle is a good idea (Sept 5). That is something that only you can decide. However, the more time you spend in the park the more chances you have to see wildlife and The Mountain. Also, if you call to make your reservations the third day is free.

Boston...
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2. Re: Tentative Itinerary for Aug 27-Sept 10th, 2011

thanks bluewater diva. You are right it might make more sense to stay in Talkeetna the night of September. I haven't made the reservation for it yet, so I can change the itinerary for it.

Manitoba, Canada
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3. Re: Tentative Itinerary for Aug 27-Sept 10th, 2011

I absolutely agree with Diva. It doesn't make sense to drive to Denali on Sept. 1, then double back to Talkeetna the next day. That's 5 hours of driving. Overnight in Talkeetna Sept. 1st, preferably somewhere that has a possible view of Mt. McKinley (usually shrouded in clouds, but sometimes peeks out late at night or early morning). BTW, McKinley can't be seen from the entrance area of Denali.

As I said before, the 3rd day of shuttles would be free, so book it. If you don't use it, you haven't lost anything, and can head off to Fairbanks earlier. But I suspect you'll want to use it, even just to go to the Toklat area for hiking (might see wolves near there).

"Overnight in Fairbanks or Delta Junction - suggestions?"

Whether you overnight in Fairbanks or Delta Junction depends on what activities you want to do in Fairbanks. I already sent you a link to a thread which listed several things to do. You are the only one who knows if any of those interest you.

"drive to Matanuska Glacier and do the Lion head rafting trip if we dont make it on the Six Mile Creek rafting trip."

Lion Head rafting ends Aug. 31st. If you don't raft at Six Mile, raft at Denali.

Lake Tahoe...
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4. Re: Tentative Itinerary for Aug 27-Sept 10th, 2011

Regarding your dinner for your last night in Anchorage, our personal choice is the Glacier Brewhouse downtown on 5th Avenue. There are other good ones too, but we like the Brewhouse

fti
MN
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for Alaska
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5. Re: Tentative Itinerary for Aug 27-Sept 10th, 2011

>>Backpackers Inn (Reserved but might cancel it, saw some bad reviews on TA about it,

Remember, all hotel reviews are very subjective. And bad reviews often come from expectations being different from reality. Look at the reviews for Denali Bluffs Hotel. Outdoor corridors and having to go outside to get ice, thus a fairly negative review. I had to laugh at that review. I say, "Who cares?"

I have stayed at the Backpackers Inn downtown once when I had an early train to Seward the next day. I chose it for several reasons - the public bus ran from the airport almost right past the place, it was within walking distance of the train station, and it was a great price. They use plastic-coated mattresses but that is common in such places. I enjoyed the private room I had, especially for the price I paid. Hardly saw anyone else, had the bathroom to myself early the next morning.

Fairbanks, Alaska
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6. Re: Tentative Itinerary for Aug 27-Sept 10th, 2011

I think a lot of hotel ratings are unfair people rate a one star hotel like a four star hotel. I would read the reviews and actually see what they did not like at the hotel.

Boston...
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7. Re: Tentative Itinerary for Aug 27-Sept 10th, 2011

Thanks much! I am working on getting this more solid, will probably come back with any outstanding questions.

Happy 4th of July everyone!

Boston...
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8. Re: Tentative Itinerary for Aug 27-Sept 10th, 2011

Actually one question that comes to mind already, we have not included any bear watching trips, any suggestions on that? I saw there are some lodges in Homer offering that but we decided to skip it! and now with the current itinerary, we are not sure if we can really re do everything. So would any locations be good for bear watching, budget wise we are pretty full with all the activities listed above so cant really add anything too expensive.

thanks again!

Manitoba, Canada
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9. Re: Tentative Itinerary for Aug 27-Sept 10th, 2011

Bear-watching tours are expensive, $600+ pp. Without a specific tour, your best chance of seeing brown bears is in Denali, with about an 80% chance per trip. If you see bears, you can always ask to get off the shuttle to spend more time. The driver will drive a safe distance away before letting you off, and you can watch to your heart's content (through binoculars). When you're done, flag down another green shuttle to resume your trip.

10. Re: Tentative Itinerary for Aug 27-Sept 10th, 2011

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