A Travellerspoint blog

The end of our Alaskan journey.

Our awesome trip has come to an end. We had mostly rain the entire 2 weeks but we had a wonderful time anyway. The cruise was great with a big highlight being how close we got to Hubbard Glacier. The land tour was something we will all never forget even with the crazy things that happened. Most of the group are now members of the Denali 30% Club because we got to see Mt McKinley and only 30% of the people who come get to see it. And seeing all of the Big 5 in Denali park was more than we could have asked for. We all made new friends on our tour bus that we hope to see again. Our tour guide, Connor and bus driver Karie were just wonderful. They were young, full of energy and very knowledgable. They are both redheads and the driver of the other bus of people on our tour was a redhead too and is Karie's boyfriend. Not sure why there are so many redheads up here. They made our trip very special! Now several on this trip are ready to plan a Panama Canal cruise for 2012. I will be booking it when I get home.

Stay tuned for the next trip. Fall Foliage Oct 2-9, 2010.

Last day!!!  Driver Karie and guide Connor.

Last day!!! Driver Karie and guide Connor.

Posted by tammyk 23:28 Comments (0)

Fairbanks---the last day!!

sunny 70 °F

Our day was full of neat adventures. First we went to a viewing area of the Alaska Pipeline. It was really pretty interesting to see it and read the displays.
I love signs like these!!  This was at the Pipeline.

I love signs like these!! This was at the Pipeline.

Really cool to be able to see this.

Really cool to be able to see this.

Wes, Ron and Bill checking out the Alaska Pipeline.

Wes, Ron and Bill checking out the Alaska Pipeline.

Next we went panning for gold!! After a really neat presentation, we were given bags to pan for gold ourselves. We all got some and you could have it weighed. I had 3 ounces that is worth about $12 and Dwight's was 2.5 ounces and worth around $10. It was really alot of fun.
All aboard!

All aboard!

We rode the train down in the cave and he told us about it.

We rode the train down in the cave and he told us about it.

He was telling us about life in the day of a gold miner.

He was telling us about life in the day of a gold miner.

The sluice--where the dirt runs through and separates the big stuff out.

The sluice--where the dirt runs through and separates the big stuff out.

The guy giving the demo's find!  I think it was rigged!

The guy giving the demo's find! I think it was rigged!

Let's get this panning on the road!

Let's get this panning on the road!

Joe quit digging in the stuff sifted through!  Patti are they that little!!

Joe quit digging in the stuff sifted through! Patti are they that little!!

Looking for the big one!

Looking for the big one!

Ulla, Bill, Jodi and Manny---Jodi got a birthday present out of this excursion!

Ulla, Bill, Jodi and Manny---Jodi got a birthday present out of this excursion!

Diane was hoping for a big find!

Diane was hoping for a big find!

Keep looking Bill.

Keep looking Bill.

Ron is still looking for gold--looks like Carol is done!

Ron is still looking for gold--looks like Carol is done!

Diane modeling the largest gold nugget ever found in an Alaskan Gold Field.  It was 19 ounces and when it was found in July 1995 it was worth $40,000.

Diane modeling the largest gold nugget ever found in an Alaskan Gold Field. It was 19 ounces and when it was found in July 1995 it was worth $40,000.

Then we went back downtown for lunch at Big Daddy's BBQ. It was featured on a show with Guy Fering. It was okay but not like we make in Texas! Some of us walked to the Visitor's Center to see some really neat displays.
They have retired sled dogs downtown for adoption!  I wanted this one.

They have retired sled dogs downtown for adoption! I wanted this one.

Horns, horns and more horns.

Horns, horns and more horns.

Then on to the Riverboat Discovery! While we were waiting for the cruise, Dwight, Bill and I went into a room that was 25 below zero! It was neat! They had a setup in the gift shop where you could get a picture taken with Lance Mackey, Alaska's most dominant dog musher. He has won the Yukon Quest AND the Iditarod four years in a row! Well there was this cute dog also so Dwight and I took a picture with them and he autographed the holder. NEAT!
Dwight and Bob and I went in a room that was 20 degrees BELOW ZERO!!!  It really felt pretty good.  Think we only made it about 2 minutes.  Maybe less!!

Dwight and Bob and I went in a room that was 20 degrees BELOW ZERO!!! It really felt pretty good. Think we only made it about 2 minutes. Maybe less!!

Then it was off on the boat. We saw a plane taking off and landing ont he water, a sled dog demonstration and we got off at a village of a tribe that I can't remember. They gave us 3 demonstrations and it was really neat. Then there was a girl there with some of the sled dogs and Susan Butcher's husband David Monson was autographing the book he and his wife wrote. We got one. It was really neat talking to him.

Riverboat Discovery

Riverboat Discovery

Bush plane--did a demo taking off and landing on the water.

Bush plane--did a demo taking off and landing on the water.

Bush plane.

Bush plane.

David Monson--Susan Butcher's husband and one of the workers.  And puppies!!!

David Monson--Susan Butcher's husband and one of the workers. And puppies!!!

Susan Butcher's husband and daughters run this training facility.

Susan Butcher's husband and daughters run this training facility.

They are so excited to run that they jump up and down and yelp!

They are so excited to run that they jump up and down and yelp!

They are ready!

They are ready!

Ready, set, go!!!

Ready, set, go!!!

They were going about 20mph here!

They were going about 20mph here!

Coming in for home!

Coming in for home!

Reindeer

Reindeer

Statue is of Granite, one of Susan Butcher's dogs who had helped her win 4 Iditirods.  She and her husband wrote a book about the dog for their daughters.  We bought one and he autographed it.

Statue is of Granite, one of Susan Butcher's dogs who had helped her win 4 Iditirods. She and her husband wrote a book about the dog for their daughters. We bought one and he autographed it.

The girl giving us demonstrations.

The girl giving us demonstrations.

Beautiful coat.

Beautiful coat.

Different hides.

Different hides.

Mushing dog.

Mushing dog.

More dogs.

More dogs.

Neat old houses to see.

Neat old houses to see.

Had to put Dwight to work---we ran out of money!!

Had to put Dwight to work---we ran out of money!!

Susan Butcher.  Won the Iditirod 4 times.  Passed away in 2006 from cancer at age 51.

Susan Butcher. Won the Iditirod 4 times. Passed away in 2006 from cancer at age 51.

Some of the gang on the Riverboat.

Some of the gang on the Riverboat.

Posted by tammyk 23:15 Comments (0)

Denali to Fairbanks

Took the motorcoach up to Fairbanks this morning. Was a nice drive and we went from rain to sunshine. We had lunch downtown then went to the Museum of the North at the University of Alaska. Really nice place. We are staying at Pike's Waterfront Lodge. Had a nice dinner here and packed up some boxes to ship and repacked suitcases. It is 11:05pm as I am typing this and you could go outside and wear sunglasses. It is crazy! Everyone is afraid they are going to freak out when it gets dark at home! HA! Have a full day tomorrow. Hope to get everything posted when we get back. Last day. We are so sad!!

Posted by tammyk 00:05 Comments (0)

Denali National Park & Mt McKinley

Awesome Day!!!!! The clouds lifted this morning and we finally saw Mt McKinley! It was so awesome! We left the lodge at 6am for a tour to the end of the park road in Denali National Park and got back at 8pm. When you go to the park you want to see the Big 5---caribou, bear. moose, wolf and sheep. We saw them ALL! It was a long day but well worth it. When we got t0 the end of the road we went to the Kantishna Roadhouse for lunch. After lunch they had a sled dog demonstration or you could pan for gold. The sled dogs were awesome! Emmitt, who spoke to us, has participated in the junior Iditirod and his Dad has done at least one race in each decade! It was so informative and the dogs were so cute! I took over 300 pictures today! It was hard to narrow down to only send some!!
We are off in the morning by motorcoach to Fairbanks. Only 2 more days! 

The photo editor was giving me fits so there is no caption on some. Sorry.

Our bus!

Our bus!

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Having a refreshment at a bathroom break.

Having a refreshment at a bathroom break.

This is a coyote.  It was pretty far away but we did see a couple!

This is a coyote. It was pretty far away but we did see a couple!

Dwight said these were HEAVY!

Dwight said these were HEAVY!

This would be were McKinley would be---already covered in clouds again.

This would be were McKinley would be---already covered in clouds again.

Kantishna Roadhouse where we had lunch and it was the end of the road!

Kantishna Roadhouse where we had lunch and it was the end of the road!

Emmitt--he was so informative and it was neat to meet him.

Emmitt--he was so informative and it was neat to meet him.

They were so excited they were running in circles and jumping up on their houses!  They were barking and yelping like crazy!

They were so excited they were running in circles and jumping up on their houses! They were barking and yelping like crazy!

Ready to go!

Ready to go!

Take me next!

Take me next!

Sooo cute!

Sooo cute!

And they are off!

And they are off!

Coming in fast!

Coming in fast!

Reba and her 'Doggles'.  She wasn't real thrilled with then!

Reba and her 'Doggles'. She wasn't real thrilled with then!

The dogs!

The dogs!

I spotted this moose as we were heading back into town.

I spotted this moose as we were heading back into town.

Squirrel.  Smaller than the ones we have!

Squirrel. Smaller than the ones we have!

Another bear.  Was a little farther off.

Another bear. Was a little farther off.

The Dall sheep were never really close but we did see them.  In this area there were at least 14 of them on the hillside.

The Dall sheep were never really close but we did see them. In this area there were at least 14 of them on the hillside.

Bear--we tried to get it to come towards the road but as it go closer it probably heard all the cameras going off and started running!

Bear--we tried to get it to come towards the road but as it go closer it probably heard all the cameras going off and started running!

Last animal of the day.  This moose was right by the road.

Last animal of the day. This moose was right by the road.

Posted by tammyk 23:07 Comments (0)

Denali National Park

The sun was shining bright when we got to Denali! I think this was the first day it had not rained! We went to the park and on a mile and a half hike lead by Miles. He was very informative and it was a beautiful walk. Then we came and checked in and took the shuttle to 'town' to eat and shop. We went to the Deanli Princess Loadge so I could scope it out and had seafood nachos. They were great and the views from the outdoor dining area were good. Tomorrow some are doing the Tundra Wilderness Tour which goes 60 miles into the park--6-8 hour tour and then 10 of us are going on the Kantishna tour all the way in to the park. 95 miles one way and 13 hour trip. We are hoping to see lots of wildlife.
These long days are really going to catch up with us when we get back. The sun sets at 12;54 AM and then rises at 4:30am!! And it never gets totally dark! We will be out running around at 10pm and think nothing of it!!

Listening to Miles on our hike.

Listening to Miles on our hike.

The tree he is pointing at is 11 years old!  It is regrowth in a clearing.

The tree he is pointing at is 11 years old! It is regrowth in a clearing.

Manny & Jodi

Manny & Jodi

The Newlyweds

The Newlyweds

Dwight said the water would keep your beer cold!

Dwight said the water would keep your beer cold!

Diane thought the water was too cold!!)

Diane thought the water was too cold!!)

I think Joe was taking a sample of the water!

I think Joe was taking a sample of the water!

Waiting for the ride back to the visitor center after our hike.

Waiting for the ride back to the visitor center after our hike.

Pelts

Pelts

Downtown Denali

Downtown Denali

Downtown Denali

Downtown Denali

Restaurant view

Restaurant view

View from the restaurant.

View from the restaurant.

Seafood Nachos Dwight and I had at the Denali Princess Lodge.

Seafood Nachos Dwight and I had at the Denali Princess Lodge.

Posted by tammyk 00:38 Comments (1)

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