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second trip to alaska

bangkok
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second trip to alaska

hi friends

planning my second trip to alaska next year with my wife (without kids this time round unlike the last trip) and trying to stitch together an itinerary but am a bit torn between some new experiences i want to have and some to compensate for the things that did not happen in the last time round as per plan; however, my two options look to be in conflicting seasons. here is my dilemma below:

last time, i had fabulous whale-watching, bear-viewing and a great mckinley flight-seeing tour, which i do not want to repeat because the bar is set way too high to get an encore. also saw good calving at hubbard and sawyer. my tour was entirely land-based.

issues last time were a) no orca sighting b) rainy days at glacier bay, yakutat and tracy arm, so apart from seeing calving of glaciers, did not see any scenery or the mountains, which otherwise made it pretty boring and dull/wet c) spent 3 days at north face lodge but did not see that much of mckinley during the stay - approx a total of 2-3 hours, though had great sighting from talkeetna on the way in.

my wish list is as follows:

a) a national geographic cruise from juneau to sitka (covers glacier bay and tracy arm)

b) an orca watching trip at seattle on the way in to alaska

c) a short trip to yakutat

d) a stay at north face lodge to see denali again

all of these above, indicate towards visiting in june (when its potentially driest); however i am also keen to see fall colours at denali, which i guess rules out cruise and yakutat options because of wet months there.

what would you recommend i do - play it safe on weather and travel in june (skip fall colours) or go for fall colours and skip/risk the rains in south east alaska, in which case i would need to combine something else with denali in end-august.

cheers

Lake Tahoe...
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1. Re: second trip to alaska

You mention North Face Lodge (deep in Denali NP) you might want check on their season

And, it can rain any time here

Manitoba, Canada
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2. Re: second trip to alaska

"play it safe on weather and travel in june"

There is no such thing as playing it safe regarding weather in Alaska. Keep in mind that, except for Denali, the rest of your trip you are in temperate rainforest. So you can expect lots of clouds and some rain no matter when you go. You might have exactly the same experience you did last time as far as being able to see the mountain scenery.

If your only reason to go to Denali is to (maybe) see Mt. McKinley, and the rest of your trip is hundreds of miles away in SE Alaska, I suggest skipping Denali.

bangkok
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3. Re: second trip to alaska

hi

i have prioritized and made Fall Colours in Denali a must-do for myself. will enter via Fairbanks and then play it by the ear post-Denali. Maybe get lucky and see northern lights !! what are the general dates for fall colours in denali in case one needs to book North Face Lodge in advance.

cheers

raja

fti
MN
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for Alaska
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4. Re: second trip to alaska

Late August and early September are generally the best time for fall colors in Denali. Are you interested in any activities during your stay at North Face? Camp Denali has some great activities like hikes during the day (I believe they include North Face since they are related). Or you can get a shuttle/camper bus ticket and take day trips into the heart of the park on your own.

What is the total length of your trip?

I would not eliminate flightseeing altogether if it is of interest. For me, I would do it again if the weather were good and I booked it on the spot. The only reason I would book in advance is if I had a 2-for-1 coupon. Then the flight experience itself, regardless of the weather, would be a draw for me for that price.

Manitoba, Canada
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5. Re: second trip to alaska

For fall colors I'd recommend the first week of September. You *might* see them at the end of August, but when I was there a few years ago at the end of August, all I saw were a few yellows, no reds at all. A return trip timed for the colors on Sept. 3 through 5 had amazing colors. The guy that did the Photo Safaris into Denali always timed his trip for the first week of September.

Note, though, that can vary a bit from year to year due to weather. And in Alaska, no one can guarantee the weather....

BTW, all 3 times I've been in AK late August through the first few days of September, I got to see Mt. McKinley entirely cloudless for at least a full day. No guarantees for your trip, of course.

Yes, you *might* see the Northern Lights. The cycle is finally on the upswing this year, and should be even better next year. Again, no guarantees.

Lake Tahoe...
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6. Re: second trip to alaska

Maple - speaking of rain that's what it did here last early evening when we went down for dinner. It was in the mid-forties. This is Alaska?

Manitoba, Canada
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7. Re: second trip to alaska

Ha ha, John, I'd ask you to send some of that Alaska weather this way, but I hate it when it rains then freezes, covering the sidewalks and roads with a lovely layer of ice. We had a bit of snow today, but at least I can walk on the sidewalk without needing ice skates!

Lake Tahoe...
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8. Re: second trip to alaska

The temperature came down (32F) and in Homer the snow is gone. We still have some of it up here. Now, we have to wait for it to snow again

9. Re: second trip to alaska

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