Alaska Or Bust 2017 travel blog

Big Daddy's BBQ - Fairbanks; featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives; excellent...

Chena Hot Springs Greenhouses

Chena Hot Springs Greenhouses

Chena Hot Springs Pool

Chena Hot Springs - Nature's Art

Chena Hot Springs

Fairbanks Riverboat Discovery

Float plane demonstration

Athabascan Village - Riverboat Discovery; women's traditional winter coat

Reindeer (domesticated caribou) in Athabascan Village

Sled dog demonstration - Susan Butcher's kennels

Training the new sled dog puppies

Finishing the training run

Cooling off in the river after training



Alaskan Salmon Bake - As you can see, we didn't leave any...

Grizzly Bear - Denali National Park (probably about two football fields away...

Grizzly Bears - Denali National Park

Grizzly Bear - Denali National Park

Dall Sheep - Denali National Park

Gearing up for flightseeing tour of Denali and the Alaska Range!





Glacier landing!



Beluga Point, Seward Highway

Glacier at Portage Valley Campground

Portage Valley Campground

Glacier Cruise in Prince William Sound






Harbor Seal resting on a glacial ice chunk

Blackstone Glacier

Pigeon Guillemonts - Prince William Sound

Kyakers checking out the Black-legged Kittiwake bird rookery in Prince William Sound;...

Nesting Black-legged Kittiwakes

Katherine caught this bald eagle on top of the nearby cell tower

Soaring above the campground in Seward

These bald eagles were flying in tandem, it almost looked choreographed!

The Iditarod Trail

2017 Iditarod Winner Mitch Seavey's Kennels, Seward AK

We named this little 8 week old puppy Sinatra because of his...

Mitch builds his sleds using composite hockey sticks because of their light...

Exit Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park

Exit Glacier hike

Exit Glacier hike

Exit Glacier hike

Exit Glacier hike

Elk - Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

"Snickers" - Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

Musk Ox - Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

Moose - Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

Wood Bison - Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

Black-billed Magpie

Never wake a sleeping wolf!

Whew, what a great nine days traveling with our daughter! It was a bit of a whirlwind with lots of activities and so many photos. It's taken a little while to sort through the pictures but we finally got this entry together. We made five different stops in the nine days and ate a whole lot of fresh seafood! Here goes:

Fairbanks - We got to Fairbanks a few days earlier than our daughter to get organized and shore up our provisions. Before she arrived we took a day trip to Chena Hot Springs, east of Fairbanks. Chena Hot Springs is a developed resort at a natural hot springs site. They are working on becoming self-sustaining, generating their own power and food for the resort. Pretty interesting, although a little too commercial for our liking.

Our daughter, Katherine, arrived late on 7/8 and we got right to it the next day. We toured the Chena River on the Riverboat Discovery, which included an excellent introduction to native Alaskan life, a demonstration of a float plane river landing/takeoff, and a stop at Susan Butcher's Iditarod Kennels. Susan was the first female to win the Iditarod race and although she passed away in 2006 her family continues to train sled dogs and race. After the riverboat tour we went to Fairbanks' Pioneer Park to enjoy a traditional Alaskan Salmon Bake. The salmon was grilled and served outside - we all agreed it was the best salmon we'd ever tasted!

Denali National Park - After arriving at the park we made a quick visit to check on activities for the next day and then took an evening river rafting trip with Denali Rafting. The river is 35 degrees cold so we had to wear dry suits over warm clothes (and by the end we were still cold). We had a great time, but sorry no photos, as there was no way to keep electronics dry. The national park is devoted to staying as wild as possible so cars are not allowed beyond the 15 mile point of the only park road. The only way to travel beyond that point is by tour bus or hiking back country. We took a shuttle bus 53 miles into the park and saw Dall sheep and our first grizzly bears (a mom and two yearlings). Warning to those with motion sickness, this is a very curvy, climbing road (just ask Pat).

Talkeetna Flightseeing - On our fourth day, Chris and Katherine went on a flightseeing tour over Denali National Park and the Alaska Range. it was Katherine's first flight in a small (6 seater) airplane. The highlight of the flight was a glacier landing! You might notice a light haze in the pictures caused by smoke from wildfires in the Yukon Territory but the scenery was amazing.

Portage/Whittier - As we traveled south we drove through one of the prettiest sections of road we've encountered so far. Between Anchorage and Portage, the Seward Highway follows the coast through Turnagain Arm. There are several places to stop and watch for marine life. In Whittier, we took a wonderful glacier cruise in Prince William Sound, which took us up close to several really large glaciers. The cruise company (Phillips Cruises) had a national parks ranger on board to provide narration and assist in wildlife identification. We definitely would recommend this cruise to other travelers.

Seward - Seward is on the Kenai Peninsula in southeast Alaska. It's a big fishing expedition town but cruise ships also dock here. Exit Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park is just outside of Seward and was a great place for a day hike. While in Seward, Pat and Katherine decided to spend a little more time learning about Alaska's official sport, sled dog racing. Mitch Seavey, the 2017 winner of the Iditarod, has his kennels and training facilities in Seward and offers tours and training rides. They got to meet the dogs, learn more about the sport, and go on a training ride, but one of the best parts was getting to hold the new puppies! On our way back up to Anchorage for our daughter's flight home we visited the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. Wildlife that cannot survive in the wild due to an injury or some other reason live here in beautiful natural surroundings.

As we mentioned, this was a bit of a whirlwind trip for our daughter but hopefully it gave her a pretty good sampling of what Alaska has to offer.

Next up - We'll be spending a bit more time on the Kenai Peninsula with family and by ourselves. Stay tuned!

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