Author Topic: Alaska Master Thread  (Read 30965 times)

Offline yehuda S

  • Dansdeals Platinum Elite + Lifetime Gold Elite
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 776
  • Total likes: 0
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 1
    • View Profile
Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #270 on: August 25, 2013, 11:57:50 PM »
Thanks. I guess I accidentally deleted the technical notes.

-What happened with the TR, was, I was editing it and accidentally hit post before it was completed so I deleted and then posted the final version.

But the technical notes deletion was accidental.
Work is what you do between vacations.

Online Something Fishy

  • Dansdeals Presidential Platinum Elite
  • ********
  • Join Date: Jan 2011
  • Posts: 4366
  • Total likes: 72
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 34
    • View Profile
    • My Flickr Page
  • Location: Not Brooklyn
Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #271 on: August 25, 2013, 11:59:24 PM »
Thanks. I guess I accidentally deleted the technical notes.

-What happened with the TR, was, I was editing it and accidentally hit post before it was completed so I deleted and then posted the final version.

But the technical notes deletion was accidental.

Excuses, excuses >:(. Now where's the rest of your TR?!
Check out all my Trip Reports here!

Offline yehuda S

  • Dansdeals Platinum Elite + Lifetime Gold Elite
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 776
  • Total likes: 0
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 1
    • View Profile
Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #272 on: August 26, 2013, 12:14:42 AM »
It's coming.  ;)
But for the record, these things take forever to write.  :-\
Work is what you do between vacations.

Online Something Fishy

  • Dansdeals Presidential Platinum Elite
  • ********
  • Join Date: Jan 2011
  • Posts: 4366
  • Total likes: 72
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 34
    • View Profile
    • My Flickr Page
  • Location: Not Brooklyn
Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #273 on: August 26, 2013, 12:18:44 AM »
Don't I know. I've been working on mine for a while already, plus I'm also in the middle of a Wyoming one.

It's worth it though, it's like reliving the trip a little. As you write all these little details come rushing back...
Check out all my Trip Reports here!

Offline Dan

  • Administrator
  • Dansdeals Lifetime 40K Presidential Platinum Elite
  • **********
  • Join Date: May 2008
  • Posts: 45177
  • Total likes: 179
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 14379
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Location: CLE
  • Programs: AA Lifetime Plat, UA 1K+Lifetime *G+Lifetime UC, DL Dirt, WN A-List, Airtran Lifetime Elite, Flying Blue Plat, SPG Plat, Hyatt Diamond, Fairmont Lifetime Plat, Hilton Diamond, Priority Club Plat, Avis Chairman, National EE, Hertz PC
Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #274 on: August 26, 2013, 12:19:16 AM »
But for the record, these things take forever to write.  :-\

It's worth it though, it's like reliving the trip a little. As you write all these little details come rushing back...
All so true.
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

Offline ayman

  • Dansdeals Lifetime Platinum Elite
  • *******
  • Join Date: Jul 2013
  • Posts: 1137
  • Total likes: 4
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 1
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #275 on: August 29, 2013, 01:31:28 AM »
Don't I know. I've been working on mine for a while already, plus I'm also in the middle of a Wyoming one.

It's worth it though, it's like reliving the trip a little. As you write all these little details come rushing back...
PM'd you

Offline yehuda S

  • Dansdeals Platinum Elite + Lifetime Gold Elite
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 776
  • Total likes: 0
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 1
    • View Profile
Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #276 on: August 30, 2013, 12:29:28 AM »
Is anyone going to Alaska soon?

I forgot my tie at the Rabbi's house. I would really appreciate if someone can bring it back.

Please let me know.
Work is what you do between vacations.

Offline yehuda S

  • Dansdeals Platinum Elite + Lifetime Gold Elite
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 776
  • Total likes: 0
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 1
    • View Profile
Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #277 on: August 31, 2013, 08:55:29 PM »
Is anyone going to Alaska soon?

I forgot my tie at the Rabbi's house. I would really appreciate if someone can bring it back.

Please let me know.
Update: I found it in my suitcase. Thanks everyone for the help.
Work is what you do between vacations.

Offline yehuda S

  • Dansdeals Platinum Elite + Lifetime Gold Elite
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 776
  • Total likes: 0
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 1
    • View Profile
Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #278 on: October 22, 2013, 12:03:18 AM »
Here is part two. It's shorter than part one because I've decided to let the pictures do most of the talking.

Enjoy!

On Sunday morning we headed out into the last frontier. We passed through Wasilla (Hi Sarah Palin) our destination was the tiny town of Talkeetna, whose mayor is a cat named Stubbs. We were booked on the Summit flight with Talkeetna Aero, an excellent company which provides flights around and on Mt. Mckinley.

About 1/3 of the visitors to this part of the state get to see the Summit of Mt. McKinley because the mountain creates its own weather patterns and that is usually clouds. BH we were blessed with clear skies.

At about halfway to Talkeetna we crested a hill and suddenly there it was. The mountain loomed over everything. Enormous, you could barely make out where it ended and the sky began. It was definitely a sight to see. Roughly the height of 15 Empire State Buildings stacked on top of each other, Ive never seen anything that tall in my life.

Mountains on top of mountains


By the way, bugs are everywhere in Alaska. Here is our very own bug cemetery - and this is with cleaning several times. I guess you never know what you are going to find because I found three chips in the windshield that I'm pretty sure I didn't cause. Thank G-d they didn't charge me for it.


The highway north from Anchorage is a two lane highway and with no warning at all, traffic was completely halted for road construction about an hour from our destination. We sat there for a half hour and were definitely going to miss the flight. So I called Talkeetna Aero and they were absolutely amazing. They immediately reserved the last two seats on the next flight and even offered to put us on a different style flight with a glacier landing instead of the summit flyover.

Talkeetna


We opted for the summit flight and took off with our pilot Charlie in a tiny, cramped oxygen equipped, ten seat prop plane. I immediately felt sick although my wife had a great time. We strapped on flimsy oxygen masks at 12,000 ft and headed up to around 23,000 ft with the enormous mountain surrounded by glaciers, smaller peaks and canyons below. The mountains are all in a relatively small area so it is somewhat shocking to take off on a flat plain and be in the midst of an enormous mountain range 20 minutes later.

Mt mcKinley up close and personal:






Look close and you can see a plane on the glacier. We opted out of that tour.



This is the enormous Ruth Glacier. It actually has a forest growing on it.


The pilot was very informative but one story stood out. Apparently one climber made it to the top, chucked his backpack over the mountain face and skied straight down. Looking at the sheer cliff rising through the mists, the absolute insanity of doing that boggles the mind. However, he did survive and its a feat that's never been replicated.

Skiing anyone?  ;D


After landing (and bentching Gomel), we headed to Talkeetna and hung around the general store for a bit before heading out on the two hour drive to our lodgings, the Denali Mountain Morning Hostel, a fantastic little place with a bunch of cabins surrounding a big cozy central cabin. This place was so cool I wish I could have stayed more than one night. The central area has a kitchen obviously not kosher, with lots of couches, guest books, tons of photo albums with pictures that I guess were taken by guests, free wifi and more. Lots of people were there and the atmosphere was very friendly and inviting.

We paid app $110 for the night.

Denali Mountain Morning Hostel:


We arrived there after twelve and fired up the burner for a hot meal of meatballs and rice before conking out. The alarm rang at 5:30 so we could catch the 7:20 Denali Shuttle to Wonder Lake inside Denali National Park. We ended up missing the bus by seconds and they were unfriendly if not downright hostile about that but grudgingly put us on the next bus. It worked out great though, because our bus driver Jerome was fantastic. His dry sense of humor kept us entertained and distracted while the green school bus made terrifying hairpin turns on the narrow gravel road overlooking 1000 foot cliffs.

The park inside is beautiful. Here are some pictures to get an idea:







And of course:



From outside the park


We saw several grizzly bears, caribou, ptarmigans and others and of course got close up views of the mountain on this spotless day.

Grizzly Bear


Caribou


Young grizzly


Moose (right outside the park)



We ended up taking the bus all the way in and after 11 1/2 hours of driving we started the 4.5 hour drive back to the Sheraton in Anchorage so we could head out early the next day to Matanuska Glacier, a 2 hour drive from Anchorage. Needless to say at this point we were utterly exhausted from the endless driving and lack of sleep. I'm sure we would not have been able to do it, if not for the eternal sunlight which seriously messed with our internal clock. Somehow we made it back to the hotel though I had to practically hold my eyes open when it was my turn to drive.

The long drive home


Early the next morning we headed out west. This drive was stunning, easily on par with the Seward highway and empty as anything. There was barely anyone on the road. Just empty highways and drop dead vistas.

We were going ice climbing.

We arrived at our destination MICA guides where we strapped on crampons - spiky shoes- and gear and headed down on a nauseatingly bumpy ride to the massive gorgeous glacier. Our two guides showed us how to carefully wedge our spikes into the ice and swing the ice tools into the ice, carefully kicking our way up the walls of ice. I don't care how it looks, when you are 20 feet up an ice wall, you don't feel secure at all. I couldn't shake the feeling that the ice would just give under my crampons and several times it did - luckily I was harnessed and our guides had the job of catching us if we fell, by hanging on the rope that was secured into the ice on the other side of the wall.

It was very scary but thrilling when it was over and you were safe on the floor having made it to the top. This is what the guides called type two fun.

After trying several different (and harder) ice walls we headed for a short tour on the glacier before heading back and then to Anchorage.

After showering and eating we headed to the Airport for the flight to Seattle and then to Philly. And that was the end of our Alaska adventure.

We can't wait to go back.

Matanuska Glacier


Tiny people on the glacier


Climbing the cliffs




200 year old meltwater. I drank some (from a cleaner spot) SF- it was delicious!


The mailbox situation


More mailboxes


And that's all!
Hope you enjoyed reading this!
« Last Edit: October 22, 2013, 12:11:29 AM by yehuda S »
Work is what you do between vacations.

Offline Fan of Dan

  • Dansdeals Presidential Platinum Elite
  • ********
  • Join Date: May 2011
  • Posts: 3016
  • Total likes: 0
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 0
    • View Profile
Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #279 on: October 22, 2013, 12:22:58 AM »
Incredible pics! I really like the one from outside the park. Brings back such good memories....

Online Something Fishy

  • Dansdeals Presidential Platinum Elite
  • ********
  • Join Date: Jan 2011
  • Posts: 4366
  • Total likes: 72
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 34
    • View Profile
    • My Flickr Page
  • Location: Not Brooklyn
Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #280 on: October 22, 2013, 12:25:54 AM »
WOW! Awesome! Great pics.

You really lucked out with the weather, I'm jealous :P.

Can't wait to go back and do Denali.
Check out all my Trip Reports here!

Offline yehuda S

  • Dansdeals Platinum Elite + Lifetime Gold Elite
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 776
  • Total likes: 0
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 1
    • View Profile
Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #281 on: October 22, 2013, 12:44:39 AM »
You really lucked out with the weather, I'm jealous :P.

I said you should have come with me!  :P
Work is what you do between vacations.

Offline Cbs

  • Dansdeals Presidential Platinum Elite
  • ********
  • Join Date: Sep 2010
  • Posts: 4495
  • Total likes: 4
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 0
    • View Profile
  • Programs: Hertz President Circle, HHonors Gold, Silver Medallion, United 1k, AA Executive Platinum
Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #282 on: November 06, 2013, 03:21:14 AM »
Hi all, Time for the next trip - Leaving this sunday morning iy"h thanks to Dan - the sale on orbitz a few months ago for $275-350 tickets..

I just sat for 2 hours reading this thread, and what it seems from here is to choose a spot and really take it in. im not sure how to do this pls advise.

So we (3 or 4 of us) will be there from this coming sunday landing at 1pm and staying till next motzei shabbos . so about 1 week .

Sunrise: 8:45am
Sunset: 4:45pm

I was thinking to head stay in ANC for the Sunday night, and head to Seward Monday before sunset, then get stay there Monday and tuesday and do the Kenai Fjords Glacier tour and Glacier exit.....Then Wednesday to go to Kenai area and take a plne around to see bear view from Soldotna, then head that eve towards talkateena area (knick river lodge ... ) and check out Denali for a day - or take flight around it . then Friday early head to ANC and spend shabbs there .

Please advise if possible. i need to close up details and hotels .

Are there any thing here that i have to pre reserve?

where is the best place to see northern lights?

Thanks

Online Something Fishy

  • Dansdeals Presidential Platinum Elite
  • ********
  • Join Date: Jan 2011
  • Posts: 4366
  • Total likes: 72
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 34
    • View Profile
    • My Flickr Page
  • Location: Not Brooklyn
Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #283 on: November 06, 2013, 08:51:38 AM »
Hi all, Time for the next trip - Leaving this sunday morning iy"h thanks to Dan - the sale on orbitz a few months ago for $275-350 tickets..

I just sat for 2 hours reading this thread, and what it seems from here is to choose a spot and really take it in. im not sure how to do this pls advise.

So we (3 or 4 of us) will be there from this coming sunday landing at 1pm and staying till next motzei shabbos . so about 1 week .

Sunrise: 8:45am
Sunset: 4:45pm

I was thinking to head stay in ANC for the Sunday night, and head to Seward Monday before sunset, then get stay there Monday and tuesday and do the Kenai Fjords Glacier tour and Glacier exit.....Then Wednesday to go to Kenai area and take a plne around to see bear view from Soldotna, then head that eve towards talkateena area (knick river lodge ... ) and check out Denali for a day - or take flight around it . then Friday early head to ANC and spend shabbs there .

Please advise if possible. i need to close up details and hotels .

Are there any thing here that i have to pre reserve?

where is the best place to see northern lights?

Thanks

I'd you still have time, get the Tour Saver book, it'll save you a mint.

I would head to Seward right away, there's no reason to waste an entire day in ANC. In the very least leave for Seward first thing Monday morning so you have time to really enjoy the Seward highway. It's considered one of the most beautiful roads in the country and for good reason. You will want to pull over every five minutes for another spectacular view and interesting sight. It took us over five hours to do the highway, and that was with rushing it since it was getting dark.

Regarding the Kenai Fjords tour, I'd suggest Major Marine - both YehudaS and I used then this summer and were very happy. I would check with them before booking however, since the whales may not be there anymore (they winter in Maui (lucky bastards >:( )). You may also consider taking the cruise out of Whittier instead, much calmer waters there (but less wildlife).

Flying out to Katmai to see the bears was never really on my radar, and I didn't end up doing the Denali flight, so I really don't know much about those personally.

As far as prebooking, If it were me I'd make sure that the cruise, flight(s), and hotel for shabbos were booked in advance. Maybe also the Knik River Lodge.

For the northern lights, check here for the forecast - http://www.gi.alaska.edu/AuroraForecast/Alaska/2013/11/10. Preferably you want to be in the wide green band, where your have the best chance of an overhead display, but the aurora should be visible from anywhere above the thin green line.

The best area in AK is about 30 miles north of Fairbanks, but you still have a fairly good chance even lower down. Find a location with a wide northern view to the horizon, that'll be your best chance. If it's cloudy you won't see a thing (obviously), so clear weather is a must. Get as far away from city lights as you could. Midnight to 2am usually has the highest activity.
Check out all my Trip Reports here!

Online Something Fishy

  • Dansdeals Presidential Platinum Elite
  • ********
  • Join Date: Jan 2011
  • Posts: 4366
  • Total likes: 72
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 34
    • View Profile
    • My Flickr Page
  • Location: Not Brooklyn
Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #284 on: November 06, 2013, 08:57:36 AM »
Also, if you don't have time to order the Tour Saver book, maybe contact YehudaS. We bought the book together this summer, he may still have it and there may still be some useful coupons for you.

And make sure to check Groupon Anchorage, they usually have some good deals on cruises, flights, etc.
Check out all my Trip Reports here!