My wife and I recently had a great winter trip to Alaska and now plan to visit Southeast Alaska for approximately two weeks next summer. I'd be interested in getting feedback re my proposed itinerary. Not sure if this is the right place to post this but I couldn't find anyway to post it under Alaska or Southeast Alaska.
We plan to go sometime between July 15 - August 15. We'll be travelling independently and hope to avoid the cruise ship crowds as much as possible. (I'm familiar with the website that provides info re cruise ship arrivals/departure.) We're looking for a wide variety of experiences. The itinerary is based on 2014 ferry/flight schedules which I know could change for next year. I plan on renting a car for the first stop in Juneau and for one day in Haines. I would also rent a car in Gustavus if needed.
My current itinerary:
Day 1: Fly to Sitka and arrive early afternoon.
Day 2: Sitka; evening flight to Juneau.
Day 3: Juneau: Mendenhall Glacier/Hiking/Other Sights
Day 4: Juneau: Day trip to Tracy Arm
Day 5: Juneau: Day trip to Pack Creek; Evening flight to Gustavus
Day 6: Gustavus: Hiking and whale watching.
Day 7: Gustavus: All day Glacier Bay cruise
Day 8: Gustavus: Kayaks/Hiking
Day 9: Early morning flight to Haines; Sights around Haines; Hiking and/or Biking
Day 10: Haines Highway, including Steve Kroeschel's Wildlife Center
Day 11: Early am flight to Skagway; Klondike Gold Rush NP + White Pass + Yukon RR
Day 12: Morning flight to Juneau/See sights we missed earlier
Day 13: Catch early morning flight to home
I was originally planning on going to Ketchikan + Misty Fjords. I've scratched that partly due to cost plus the fact that Ketchikan appears to get very crowded with cruise ship passengers. Also, we'll be seeing Tracy Arm and Glacier Bay so Misty Fjords didn't seem as critical. We can also see totem poles in Sitka. I would consider adding Ketchikan if people think I'm making a major mistake.
I'm debating about adding a day to use the Alaska ferry system. I had originally planned on using the ferry system but the schedules aren't working well in terms of timing (based on 2014 schedule). Same issue re the fast ferry from Haines to Skagway. If I add a day I can take the ferry from Sitka-Juneau (likely the fast ferry) or for Juneau-Gustavus.
I would also consider adding a day for salmon fishing if I had a better than 50-50 chance of catching one and didn't have to spend a fortune. I'm guessing we would be limited to freshwater fishing, preferably with a guide, due to high cost of saltwater fishing. Haines looked like it might be worthwhile for salmon fishing (Chilkoot River or Lake) but almost all of the tours/guides are for saltwater fishing. Any info re freshwater fishing with a guide in Haines or elsewhere would be appreciated.
My last issue relates to timing. I want to make some of the reservations as early as practical. I'm thinking about starting the reservation process after the summer ferry schedule is announced (early October if my research is correct). Any major pitfalls in making reservations this early?
Thanks a lot.