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.