Alaska Vacation 2012

The following log covers a vacation trip to Alaska in June 2012
This log is from the family vacation to Alaska starting June 23 2012. Like all blogs the newest entries are at the top.

Home from the great white north
We arrived in Huntsville at 10:15PM Tuesday night. It took us 9.75 hours to get from Anchorage to Atlanta, and 7 hours to get from Atlanta to Huntsville. It was a very looooooong day.

Comment for record
20120704-154506.jpgGlacier Brewhouse Hefeweizen is a mighty fine brew….day 2.

In downtown Anchorage
20120701-194406.jpgWe are at our final destination of Anchorage now. Dropped by the Glacier Brewhouse and Restaurant and had a great tasting BBQ salmon lunch and tried a few of there own brewed beers. I like this place. Also stopped at the Snow Goose restaurant where they have the Sleeping Lady Brewery and had their Scottish Ale. It was yummy. We’ll spend all day Sunday and Monday here. We’ll check out of the hotel Monday night around 11:00PM to head to the airport for our 1:30AM flight back home.

Dutch Harbor King Crabs
20120701-194259.jpgI felt bad for those guys on Deadliest Catch sometimes, but after paying $50 for these Dutch Harbor king crab legs I don’t.

Northwestern Glacier
20120701-192638.jpgFar and away the best part of this vacation was this boat tour to the northwestern glacier of Kenai Fjords National Park. We were barely clear of the marina when a bald eagle flew off our left side. We saw sea otters not far from the marina, stellar sea lions, harbor seals, puffins (a kooky looking parrot/duck), and over 15 humpback whales. The captain stopped the boat at one spot where we watched 6 different whales. Then we came within a few hundred feet of the awesome glacier and watched chunks break off and crash to the water. A most excellent day.

Harbor seal


Humpback whale


Stellar Sea Lions


Sea otters


Glacier boat tour
20120630-082907.jpgWe will be boarding the Alaskan Explorer soon for a 9 hour coastal glacier tour in Kenai Fjords.

Beautiful day in Seward
20120629-155454.jpgMade it to Seward. What a great day!

Exit Glacier
20120629-143646.jpgThe weather is great for a change. It’s sunny and 62 degrees. We stopped and hiked 2 miles round trip to Exit Glacier. It was very windy and cool in the open next to the glacier (really? It’s cool next to a glacier?). We had to shed the jackets at the trailhead.

On the way to Seward
20120629-104042.jpgStayed overnight in Anchorage after the 8 hour train ride. We are headed to Seward this morning and stopped along the side of the road for this photo.

Backcountry Lodge>20120628-111745.jpgThis is where we’ve been staying these 2 nights 92 miles from the park entrance. We stayed in the cabin on the far left.


20120628-110347.jpgRumor has it that there are mountains in Alaska, but from this field reporter I can tell you that we’ve seen no evidence of such. These are photos two days apart from the same “scenic” outlook that show a spectacular view of something called “Mt. McKinley”. The bottom of each photo is the placard that identifies all of the grandeur spread before you. It is also 48 degrees and it is 11:00am

Schizophrenic weather
20120626-122726.jpgTwo days ago in Fairbanks bought a couple of pairs of shorts because the temperature was in the 80’s. Yesterday Jan bought a long sleeve t-shirt and a sweatshirt because the highs in Denali are in the 50’s and rainy for the foreseeable future. Like the Bavarian Alps, we can’t see the mountains right now. In a few hours we’ll be taking a 90 mile bus ride into Denali. I’m hoping the weather clears up or at least stops raining. This will likely be the last posting until Thursday when we leave Denali. I’m assuming there will be no interweb service out there.

Sled dog kennel tour
20120626-075952.jpgYesterday we went to Husky Homestead to tour a sled dog kennel. Here’s Jan with a future Iditarod champion. The tour was owned by a 4 time Iditarod champion, Jeff King.

Denali Entrance
20120626-091527.jpgDenali Park area. Notice the moose in the lake. I think it’s real.

Nenana River
20120625-114047.jpgNearing Denali.

Train to Denali
20120625-073329.jpgWe’re getting ready to board the train to Denali. It’s a 140 mile ride which is better than a 140 mile drive.

On the Chena River
20120624-172756.jpgJan and I on the stern wheel boat in Fairbanks.

New tub for Mary
20120624-172617.jpgFound this tub in the Eskimo village.

Our cabin in Fairbanks
This is the cabin we’re staying at in Fairbanks at $275 a night.
Not really. This is at the made up Eskimo village where they invented the pitched roof.

Fairbanks – Riverboat tour
Today (Sunday) we took a journey down the Chena River on a paddle boat. There was a long stop over at a made up Eskimo village that no one actually live at. We heard some made up stories of stuff that probably actually never happened, but who doesn’t like fiction?

North Pole, Alaska
Made it to Santa Claus House in North Pole. You have to turn onto Santa Claus Drive then a left on Saint Nicholas Lane.

Arrival in Fairbanks

Had about a 30 minute delay in Minneapolis but the pilot made up the time in the air. As often as Delta is late I’ll at least give them credit for hiring former Navy and Air Force pilots who do their job well. They always lean on the throttle to make up any lost time they can. Saying that, we arrived in Fairbanks a little early. We went straight to our hotel just a few miles away. It was still daylight outside and temperature is perfect. This photo was taken at around 12:45AM as we were loading up the car.

Flight #1. Huntsville to Detroit
In a shocking turn of events, our Delta flight out of HSV was delayed an hour. They claim it was because Detroit shut down 2 of their runways due to construction. So, without any prior warning or notification they decided to start a multimillion $$$ construction project not 10 minutes before we were supposed to board a plane. I leave that one up to you to decide. We did make it to Detroit and are awaiting our flight to Minneapolis. Here’s Jan “waiting” in Sky Club.

Alaska 2012
Jan and I are heading to Alaska for vacation and will be there on Friday, June 22nd. We’re not going on a cruise. This is a land tour that we’ve made up (mostly). Our flight actually arrives in Fairbanks around 12:30am Saturday June 23rd. Not quite the longest day of the year but pretty close. The sun sets at 12:48AM and rises at 2:59AM that day so it should still be light outside when we arrive. We’re flying into Fairbanks and will be staying a couple of days before taking the train to Denali. We’ll be staying outside Denali National park for one night and then take a 90 mile bus ride into the park and stay at the Backcountry Lodge for 2 nights. After that we’ll take the bus back to the park entrance and get on the train to Anchorage. We’ll stay a night in Anchorage, get a rental car and drive down to Seward. In Seward we have plans to get on a 9 hour boat excursion to the Kenai Fjord glaciers. Then it’ll be back to Anchorage for a day or two and fly back home on July 3rd. Hopefully, we’ll see a lot of things from a distance (like bears and moose) and some things close up (like eagles and glaciers). I have no intention of exerting much effort on this vacation, so hiking is out.
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