Monday, August 13, 2012

Alaska - Part One. SO many pictures!

There was this one time when I went to Alaska for two weeks.  And it. was. AWESOME.  I've always wanted to go to Alaska (the final frontier!) and when Hubster's brother got a job up there for the summer, we knew it was time to finally cross Alaska off the bucket list.

We decided to first fly into Anchorage and rent an RV with Hubster's parents so that we could drive that stretch of country.  As you probably know, Alaska is HUGE so we had a lot of ground to cover.  We first drove the Kenai Peninsula down to Homer where the boys went Halibut fishing.  The drive was GORGEOUS.
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On the way to Kenai
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Glacier Lake
The drive was a little over 4 hours long and there wasn't one part of it that wasn't breathtakingly beautiful.  The mountains were SO green.  It looked like Hawaii, but with snow. Very unexpected for me.
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More of this, please!
While the boys fished in Homer, the girls walked around the Homer Spit and checked out some of the local art.  I love seeing the unique arts and crafts from each region!  If I were a wealthy woman, I would totally collect stuff like that from my trips.

That evening we had to drive back to Anchorage so that we could make it up to Denali National Park the next day.  I was really looking forward to seeing Denali along with North America's tallest mountain.  We had been warned that the mountain is typically only visible a few days out of the summer, but apparently we had really good luck because this is the view we got the entire time we were in Denali:
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Clear as can be!
We were super excited that we had such good luck.  The mountain stayed clear for several days.  Our bus driver guide told us that while it was clear for us on the south side of the mountain, it was completely covered with clouds on the other side.  We had great timing!
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And of course we brought Jett with us!
Denali National Park was so beautiful, but in a different way than I expected.  For some reason I was imagining that the park would be nothing but miles of trees and trees, but it was actually wide open with so many beautiful vistas.  I was pleasantly surprised!
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Denali National Park
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Polychrome Pass--so much prettier in real life
We saw plenty of wildlife along the way, including some weird Caribou-like creature...
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Very weird creature, indeed.
And once again, we were treated to awesome view of Mt. McKinley.  This mountain is seriously HUGE.  It has nearly a 4-mile vertical rise!  It's a mammoth.
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Hubster wants to climb...badly.
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At the visitor's center
Denali also has a lot of little lakes to check out.  My favorite was definitely this one that was lined in white flowers.  Nature is awesome.
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White wildflowers.
We also got to see plenty of glacial runoff.  It was especially interesting to me when it mixed with the clear creek runoff.
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And of course, we saw the Dall Sheep which is the animal that Denali was created to protect.  It's a pretty cool sheep.
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However, I was slightly more impressed with one of our final sights as we left the park.  We were lucky enough to see a Grizzly from less than 50 feet away.  I was SO thankful that I was on a bus that could move away quickly if a bad situation arose.  Those bears aren't to be trifled with!
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PARTICULARLY when they have baby cubs...
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But they are so cute!
We got to watch Mama and babies play for several minutes before the bus driver had to move on.  It was definitely the highlight of the Denali Park tour.  So. Awesome.

The last bit of wildlife we saw in the park was the famous Caribou.  Sadly, Santa's sleigh was no where to be found.  Maybe next time...
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On our last day in Denali, we decided to check out the Alaska Husky sled dogs that they use in the park during the winter.  They love people and were so dang cute!
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Even though this one looks less than impressed with me...
They even did a demonstration sled run.  I wanted to be the person on the back quite badly!
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After seeing the sled dogs, we headed back to Anchorage to fly to Juneau to meet up with the brother-in-law.  I'll post my Juneau adventures later this week!

Have any of you been to Alaska?  What was your favorite thing you did/saw?  Tell me in the comments!


  1. Wow amazing photos! You were up close and personal! I haven't been to Alaska (but would love to) but I did go to Canada (Banff specifically) and there was a ton of wildlife running around. So cool.

  2. No way. Those pictures are incredible! I think I could get used to hanging out in a place like that. (Although I think I'd be nervous running on the trails after seeing bears like that.)

  3. I was born & raised in Anchorage but we left 8 yrs ago. You did/saw more of Alaska than I did in the 28 yrs I lived there. My favorite place was my grandparent's house in Hope.

  4. I'm so jealous. I want to go there now! Great pictures.