I am planning a 7-day trip to Alaska for me and my husband.
This is the itinerary we have decided on so far - any suggestions would be greatly welcome as we might have tried to stuff in too much in too less days but since its like one of those 'once in a lifetime' trips we really want to see and do as much as we can. Here goes :
Day - 1: Arrive at Anchorage (11:50 pm) - get rental car and stay the night in local hotel.
Day - 2 : Early start - drive to Talkeetna - do McKinley flightseeing (10:30am or 12:30pm - many people commented its better to take one of the earlier flights for better visibility but 10:30am may be too tight driving up from Anchorage?) - After flight, drive to Denali (collect shuttle tickets and if possible drive up to savage river, do they restrict driving inside in the evening ? we are hoping to reach by 6? Is that too ambitious?)
Day - 3 : Take the 5:15 am shuttle to Wonder Lake (in the hope that an earlier shuttle will get us more animals and better visibility of McKinley or should we just take the more human 6:15 am?) - We will get down at Eielson if weather is bad skipping Wonder lake and do a hike before taking the bus back.
We would like to hike in an area that gives a feel of the tundra vegetation - any suggestions? Is the Eielson hike (not the stroll) ok to do alone without a ranger to guide us? Frankly, I am a little worried about bears, but also want to do atleast one hike!
Day - 4 : Drive from Denali to Matanushka, do the glacier hike with MICA guides (4pm) and stay the night in Palmer.
Day - 5 : Drive to Seward - do the the Exit glacier hike - any special thing to do in Seward at night?
Day - 6 : The 6 hour Kenai Fjord Cruise at 8am - evening is free (any suggestions?) Or should we do the 9 hour cruise? What else can be done/seen at Seward?
Day - 7 : Early start, drive to Homer, ( See Russian river falls, Ninilchik village on the way, anything else? ) - try to reach homer by 2pm so we have time to explore the spit/trails etc (not very clear on what to see)
Day - 8 : Start from Homer at 2 pm to drive to ANC airport for return flight at 12:30 am in the night. So we have the morning till 2 pm for some activity in Homer. So I am confused between bear watching trip (expensive!) / grewingk glacier hike (enough time? water taxi availability early in the day?) / or anything else ?
Also is starting at 2pm in the afternoon enough to reach Anchorage in time for the flight? Mostly we will not be stopping for scenery as we would have done the same drive at a leisurely pace before.
So the main concerns I have here are regarding the Homer part of the trip, initially my plan was to spend 2 nights there but after putting Matanushka into our program we had to cut off one day from Homer. Now we have one evening and one morning in Homer, we are not interested in fishing/rookery and my husband is not too keen on the bear watching (also its too expensive, maybe if our Talkeetna flightseeing does not work out due to weather we could do a bear watching flight). If we stayed for 2 nights I was planning on the Grewingk hike but now I am not sure if it could be done by 2 pm.
Since there is less time and we have been mostly running around in the first part of trip, should we just take time out and relax by the beach in Homer for the morning or is there some other thing we could do. Please suggest.