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First Alaska trip - please critique itineraries

chicago
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First Alaska trip - please critique itineraries

I have already posted here earlier, and got a lot of help with my initial planning.

I just booked plane tickets, and built a draft of the travel plan based on advice I received earlier.

We (middle aged couple) will have 11 days in the end of June/early July.

Please let me know your thoughts on itineraries below, and any suggestions on how to correct/improve.

June, 26. Arrive Anchorage around 1:00 pm, and drive to Girdwood. (just wanted to do some partial driving toward Homer, but not sure here)

June, 27. Drive to Homer

June, 28 Homer. Bear viewing trip with Emeralds Air

June, 29 Drive to Seward (Exit Glacier?)

June, 30 Seward. Kenai Fjords 6 hour or longer tour

July, 1 Seward Dogsledding trip

July 2 From Seward drive to Wittier, do Prince William Sound glacier cruise and continue to Talkeetna (I am not sure here, if we have enough time to make to Talkeetna on that day. I know there is a lot to see on the way from Seward)

July 3 Drive to Denali (stay at Aspen House in Healy)

July 4 Denali shuttle bus to Eieleson (Aspen House in Healy)

July 5 Stay extra night at Denali or drive back to Talkeetna for flightseeing??? Not sure here.

July 6 Drive back to Anchorage (not sure from Talkeetna or Denali). I am concerned about potential traffic coming from Denali at the end of 4th of July weekend.

Late night departure from Anchorage

Thank you!

fti
MN
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1. Re: First Alaska trip - please critique itineraries

Not sure why you started a new thread. Here is the other one:

tripadvisor.com/…53526762

And here is the link to one of the threads linked to the Top Questions about Alaska talking about why it is beneficial to us unpaid volunteers if people keep their questions regarding the same itinerary in one thread.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g28923-i349-k36247…

chicago
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2. Re: First Alaska trip - please critique itineraries

Fti,

You are correct, I did started a new thread. I am not a new poster, I have been using this site and other travel sites for a long time, so I do agree with you about benefits of keeping everything in one thread.

However, there are so many posts on Tripadvisor, that I believe sometimes threads just get forgotten after a while. I got a lot of help from you on my original thread (Thank You for that!), but I was not getting any additional responses on my modified plan.

So, with that, I thought if I open a new thread and and clarify my questions, then I will get more responses this way. I could be wrong, but this is why I opened a new one.

I would appreciate everyone responses and opinions!

USA
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3. Re: First Alaska trip - please critique itineraries

I wouldn't be too awfully worried about traffic on July 6th. I have never noticed a huge 4th of July influx into Denali NP my many summers there. Now Seward gets crazy on the 4th & that traffic can be something else.

What time is your glacier cruise out of Whittier?

chicago
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4. Re: First Alaska trip - please critique itineraries

Denalicat, thank you!

I have not booked this PWS cruise yet, but looking at their schedule, they go from 12:30 till 5:30.

With that, if want to get to Talkeetna on the same day, we will be driving late.

Is there another convenient stopover place to stop on the way from Wittier to Denali closer than Talkeetna (other than Anchorage)?

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5. Re: First Alaska trip - please critique itineraries

For me, the logical place to overnight, after waiting for the tunnel, would be Girdwood, just in time for a nice dinner! I see that was in your plan of your last itinerary, the itinerary which got no comments in your last post of that previous thread, Why the change of heart?

Palmer or Wasilla could be further options, of course.

Edited: 23 October 2013, 16:39
Lake Tahoe...
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6. Re: First Alaska trip - please critique itineraries

I'm impressed with John (fti) that he can remember previous posts like that. I can't even remember the beginning of each post :-).

As for arriving at 1 p.m. at ANC and driving south to Girdwood, if your objective is Homer, there are other choices as Girdwood is not that far. You could look into Summit Lake Lodge or a bit further at Kenai Princess (Cooper Landing) close to half-way to Homer. You could drive the entire distance, but you would arrive late in the day at Homer. Emerald Air leaves from Beluga Lake (they use floatplanes and is next door to Bald Mountain.

I'm not much into dog sled tours so can't say what they do at Seward. Last August when our granddaughter was visiting us we did one at the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage. In my opinion I would not waste an entire day (July 01) on this as it was only a trip around the block.

As for your PWS trip at Whittier I would suggest as already have done Kenai Fjords at Seward, why? We did the 26 Glacier Tour this past summer while waiting to board our Princess Cruise. The tour is over late in the afternoon and to drive to Talkeetna is really unrealistic the same day. To me (I'm opiniated) I would forget the PWS and tunnel stuff and devote the time towards Talkeetna and Denali.

I would agree that the traffic back to ANC (Sunday of 4th of July weekend) could be heavy, as the locals may be out taking advantage of the long weekend. You say late departure from ANC. Is that on the 6th or the next day? We always plan to be in town days of departure, due to road closures, etc.

fti
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7. Re: First Alaska trip - please critique itineraries

I just get tired of responding on multiple threads so i politely bow out of the discussion when people do that.

Too many details get missed or repeated. Just takes too long.

Edited: 23 October 2013, 18:06
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8. Re: First Alaska trip - please critique itineraries

However, especially for those who use TA a lot, there are other forums that *encourage* folks to start a new thread for various reasons; thus, I personally like to just remain flexible. Since I've been traveling a lot & have a gypsy history LOL, I participate on a number of forums, so am used to often looking back at the poster's history. No big deal IMHO.

chicago
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9. Re: First Alaska trip - please critique itineraries

Denalicat, the only reason I had the change of heart is that I was concerned about driving from Anchorage to Denali on July, 6. We will be flying home on that day (late at night around 11:00pm), so I thought we can hit heavy traffic or road closure etc... With that, I wanted to give us more flexibility - to get to Denali one day earlier, so we can leave a day earlier if we would like (leave on Jul, 5). Other than that I liked my previous plan.

I did not even know there was waiting for the tunnel time. Thank you for mentioning this!

So, it looks like we better either cut out one day from Seward or do a long drive to Denali on July, 3 from Girdwood, or accept the risk of driving on the last day and stick to a previous plan

chicago
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10. Re: First Alaska trip - please critique itineraries

K2Iks, Thank you for suggesting these alternative stopovers on the way to Homer! I put Girdwood, because was not sure where else we can stop on the way. I will look into your suggestions.

From Seward, there is Godwin dog sledding tour supposedly with glacier landing, and this is what I had in mind

www.alaskadogsled.com

I do not have much information on their schedule yet, and how long it lasts. I emailed to them, but did not get any response so far.

Are you suggesting that Kenai fjord tour and PWS provide about the same scenery?

In this case, I may look into dropping PWS cruise. However, this would be first time for me to see glaciers, and beauty of this sort, so one cruise may not be enough :)