At the end of August, our family traveled to Alaska for ten days. We started to plan the trip early summer. We visited Alaska before in 2012 summer. In that trip, we flew there to take cruise, but didn't have time to go to Denali National Park, which became our main stop in this trip.
We arrived Anchorage at night of August 20. It was already past nine o'clock in the evening when the plane flew to Anchorage. This is Alaska still bathed in a gorgeous sunset.
Next day morning, we drove to Denali. It took more than 4 hours. We had a stop at Denali South Viewpoint.
We spent three days at Denali (8.21-24）. We lived in a lodge which is 5 minute driving distance away from the Park Visitor Center. Due to the shortage of bus tickets if not booking earlier, for the first two days, what we could do were just driving between Visitor Center and Savage River Trailhead.
We got up early and drove into the park along the only road in the park. You can only drive as far as the Savage River Bridge, and then turn back. The mountains and fields in the early morning are covered with a thin morning mist, like a lightly floating veil, full of mystery.
When the sun rose, the mist dissipated, and the distant scene became clearly visible.We could see the snow mountain, Denali Peak, although it's very far away.
While driving, we saw a giant moving in the bushes on the side of the road. That is the moose! We stopped the car and took a few photos of it.We also saw a moose wandering in the bush.
On August 23, we got on Shuttle Bus which sent us to Eielson Visitor Center. We spend the whole day in the park.
The Shuttle Bus drove slowly on the winding mountain road in the park, and the scenery on both sides of the road was clearly visible. We are very lucky to see grizzly bears roaming on the road at close range three times. They swaggered out of the bushes, seemingly not afraid of the slow-moving bus, walked across the road in front of the bus, and disappeared into the bushes on the hillside across the road.
In addition to grizzly bears, we also saw herds of wild goats on the steep slopes in the distance. They are not afraid of steepness, as if walking on the ground. Its superb vigor is amazing.
Inside the park, the view was gorgeous.
Between snow mountains and green hillls, Polychrome Mountains looks so colorful.
Originally we plan to drive north to Fairbank to watch northern light there. It started to rain on August 24. Under such weather, there would be almost no chance to see the northern light. So we cancelled the plan to Fairbank. Instead, we drove to east to see Glacier View.
On the return trip, we passed Denali South Viewpoint again. Because it was cloudy and raining, we looked into the distance in front of the mountain view sign in the scenic spot. Where there are distant mountains, we only saw a blank.
We arrived near Matanuska Glacier on the evening of the 24th and stayed there for one night. Go to a Glacier Tour the next morning. Matanuska Glacier is privately owned and is a mecca for alpine skiing in winter. Ski enthusiasts always take a helicopter to reach the height of the glacier and then slide down the slope.
We participated in a half-day Glacier tour. Led by a tour guide, more than 20 of us actually walked into the glacier and walked in the snow and ice world for 2-3 hours.
We left Glacier View on the afternoon of the 25th and headed west to south, and returned to Anchorage for one night. The seafood dinner at Glacier Brewhouse is very delicious.
We drove to Whittier in the morning on the 26th. After passing the tunnel, there is a Portage Pass Trail. Climbing for half an hour, you can see the glacier when you reach the pass. On the top of the mountain, looking around, there is a blue sea on the east and a white glacier on the right, which is very spectacular.
After leaving Whittier, we also stayed at Alaska Wildlife Reservation for one afternoon until it closed. I watched grizzly bears, moose and other Alaskan animals more closely, and there is no danger at all, it is very worthwhile.
We arrived at Seward the next day and went to see Exit Glacier first. There are many tourists in this glacier park, suitable for all ages. We only went to Edge Of Glacier Outlook. I saw someone walking on the glacier along the Harding Icefield Trail.
We stayed in Seward downtown for two nights. Seward is a secluded seaport tourist town. There are only two or three streets in the town, full of murals and decorative sculptures introducing local customs.
On the 28th, we took a 6-hour Kenai Fjords National Park Tour and took a cruise to sea. I saw the beautiful puffin like a parrot flying around on the sea.
The cruise ship sailed through the fjords and approached the glaciers. The icebergs in the glacier move little by little under the squeeze of gravity, forming cliffs close to the sea. The ice block crashed from the cliff, making a deafening sound, which was spectacular.
We left Seward on the 29th for Anchorage International Airport and took a night flight back to San Francisco. Halfway through, near Whittier, we took the Byron Glacier Trail again.
We arrived near the airport in the evening, several hours before boarding time. We stayed on the beach of Point Woronzof for a few hours. In the sunset and twilight, we looked at the distant mountains to the north, and we could clearly see the snow peak of Denali. Looking to the east, the night view of the city of Anchorage was also unobstructed.
Our 10-day trip to Alaska came to a perfect end. We are also planning to come here again next time, either fly directly to Fairbank to watch the Northern Lights during Christmas, or go to Katmai National Park to watch grizzly bears catch migratory salmon high above the stream.