Thursday, January 14, 2016

Thursday Throwback - Alaskan Adventure Day 2

















Since we're not doing any camping right now due to winter weather and tight work schedule, I'm highlighting our trip to Alaska in June 2014.

Day 2 is kind of misleading!  Day 1 was really traveling to Alaska.  Day 2 was when our adventure really began.  We ate our free breakfast at the hotel we were staying at in downtown Anchorage.  We couldn't pick up our rental car until 9:00 a.m. so we walked around by the shore of Anchorage.

Anchorage had beautiful flowers hanging all over the place!






































Here's a picture of Ship Creek near our hotel.  It wasn't salmon season while we were there but we did enjoy watching them fish anyway.


















After we picked up our rental car and stopped by Walmart to pick up snacks and water, we headed north toward Denali.





































We ate fast food for lunch in Wasilla and then got back on the road to Denali.  As we drove, I wondered if we would know Mt. McKinley when we saw it.  We also knew that the summit of Mt. McKinley is visible only about 20% of the time.  So we were fully expecting not to see the summit.  As I was thinking all this, we rounded a corner and there she was.......
















This picture does not capture the emotion that I felt when I first laid eyes on that mountain!  We pulled over and I literally cried!  I felt like I was looking at where God lived!  The mountains closer to the tree line are big, like the ones you see in Colorado.  Mt. McKinley (now just known as Denali) is the white summit to the left.  It is unbelievably tall!

We stopped at a scenic overlook area and were just in awe!





































We finally tore ourselves away from the amazing scenery and drove further north.  We stopped at another overlook and saw more amazing scenery!


















We finally arrived at Denali.  It is just a strip of hotels, with a few souvenir shops and a couple of restaurants.  We stayed at the Denali Bluffs hotel.































































We ate dinner at our hotel and then set off for a river raft ride - at 7:30 p.m.!  Check out how light it was!





















It was a beautiful float but unfortunately we did not see any wildlife.




















We wrapped up the day drinking wine from the deck area of our hotel.  This picture was taken at 11:00 p.m.!!



















We fell in love with Alaska this day!  The mountains just spoke to our soul.  We can't wait to go back!  I will share Day 3 next week - that day was the scariest day of my life!

Live a Happy Camper Life!
Michele

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Throwback Thursday - Alaskan Adventure Day 1



One of the reasons why I wanted to start this blog was to inspire people to get outside more and enjoy this beautiful world God has created.  However, we don't get outside as much during January.  So I decided to highlight each day of our amazing trip to Alaska we took during the summer of 2014 on Throwback Thursdays.  It was a 10 day trip so by the time I get through 10 Throwback Thursdays, it will be time to go camping again!!

Before I tell you all about Day 1, let me give you some background.  My hubby and I usually don't take big vacations.  And when we do, we camp and we take our son.  But this time was different.  It was our 25th wedding anniversary and we wanted to do something different and special.  We threw around ideas like renting a beach house in Florida for the entire family or going to  Banff in Canada.  But nothing sounded right so we just did nothing about it.  Finally mid-spring I got to thinking about surprising my hubby with a trip to his bucket list destination - Alaska!

Honestly at first I was not crazy about the idea of going to Alaska!  It sounded cold and expensive.  And I thought that our only choice was a cruise and I just didn't think we would enjoy that - we like hiking and camping.  But I started researching and found out that a cruise was not our only option.  And I found out that typically Alaskan cruises just cruise around the Inside Passage, stopping at the state capital Juneau, as well as Sitka and Ketchikan.  Those are beautiful destinations but when I thought about Alaska, I thought about seeing Mt. McKinley and Denali National Park.  You can visit those places on a cruise but it costs extra for land excursions.

Then I found the perfect alternative - a land tour!  Sure it wasn't necessarily cheaper but it fit us better.  It was a nine day tour fully planned out for us, except we got our own rental car and could have some freedom when it came to meals.  And best of all we would get to see Mt. McKinley!

So are you ready to travel back in time?!

I am!!

Alaskan Adventure Day 1

We left Friday, June 21 at 9:00 a.m. from the St. Louis airport.































We flew to Chicago, switched planes and flew to Seattle.  Seattle has a beautiful airport!  We ate a late lunch there and then got on another plane and flew the final leg to Anchorage, Alaska!


















The flight to Alaska was one I will never forget!  The mountains were unlike any I had ever seen!  They were huge, beautiful and everywhere!

We landed around 5:30 p.m. that evening - it helped we gained time as we headed west!  It was a cool 54 degrees!  Notice we are still in our short sleeves!






















We took a shuttle to our first night stay - Downtown Comfort Inn Ship Creek.  Officially our tour package did not start till the next day so we had to decide on this one ourselves.  We picked out Comfort Inn at Ship Creek because it was within walking distance of downtown and we didn't pick up our rental car till the next day.

The Summer Solstice celebration was going on that night!  If you call what they have there at that time of year night!  It never got dark!  It was like twilight all night long!

Here was a picture taken of Ship Creek that night!  



















We had a great night at the celebration, shopping at touristy shops in Anchorage and eating fresh crab legs!  But none of this compares to Day 2!! Wait for it!  It's coming!

Living the Happy Camper Life!
Michele