Alaska: Part 1

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On a whim, K and I decided to visit Alaska for about 3 weeks last year. We were hanging out in Montana and the smoke from the wildfires was getting ridiculous. I found some cheap one way tickets and a “reasonable” (for Alaska) car rental, and off we went.

We spent the first part in the Kenai Peninsula, mostly staying at Airbnbs and booking lodging as we went. We were lucky it was nearing the end of the summer so it was not *too* crazy to get last minute reservations.

The highlight of the Kenai Peninsula for me (besides the hiking), was this outrageously expensive bear viewing trip around Katmai National Park. We had a group of about 20 people. We flew in small planes and landed on this beach, then walked around the area and saw lots of bears. The bears weren’t interested in us humans, our group was about as interesting to the bears as the birds that were buzzing around. The salmon in the river on the other hand, was definitely food. The bears were hunting close enough to us that we could hear the salmon bones breaking when they were eating salmon. It was a bit scary.

Yummy Salmon (glad it’s not me!)

I’m jealous of the photos K got of the bears with his camera.

Too cute (ignoring the fact that they could kill us)

We also did a bit of spectacular hiking. We did have to be a little careful about running into animals.

Harding Icefield, Exit Glacier Trail
Views along Lost Lake Trail

After this we saw an opening in the weather where it seemed to be clear skies around Denali. So we got in the car, booked some lodging near the park and drove 8 hours north. I’m a bit mixed on visiting Denali to be honest. You can’t drive in the park, so what ends up happening is you drive to the park, then you park your car and pay for a shuttle ride that drives you into and out of the park. We saw a lot of wildlife and the glorious tundra, but gosh that bus ride is long and the buses are not the most comfortable buses on planet earth.

I got lucky and snapped a picture of this guy and Denali!

Next post I’ll write about the rest of our trip (LOTS of glaciers) and how we got back!