|Destinasjoner :||Alaska - United States|
|Aktivitets nivå :||Camping - Kultur & Tema reiser (enkelt) - Natur og dyrereiser - Villmarks opplevelser|
Welcome to Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska with only 300,000 people and a city which has undergone quite a change since the earthquake of 1964. Now a bustling city fuelled by the oil boom and tourism, it wasn’t that long ago that Anchorage was the last outpost before heading into the ‘Last Frontier’, this is a city mixed with metropolitan luxuries and unrivalled natural wonders. It’s not uncommon to find bear roaming the outskirts of the city, this is one truly wild place. A great way to spend your day is to wander around town getting a feel for the 49th state, speaking to the locals and checking out some of the great cafes and restaurants. A welcome meeting will be held at 6:00pm for you to meet your tour leader and fellow travelling companions.
Leaving Anchorage, you enter the wilderness pretty much instantly and make your way towards Talkeetna where you stop for the opportunity to try a local delicacy, Reindeer Sausage, before arriving in Denali National Park. Home to the highest mountain in North America, legendary Mount McKinley (6,194m), it covers six million acres and houses some of the most unspoilt wilderness and spectacular scenery in the whole of Alaska.
Enjoy two full days exploring the park with an included bus pass - the only way to get out into the incredible (and vast) wilderness. Try to spot Alaska’s ‘Big Five’; Caribou, Dall sheep, moose, Grizzly Bear and wolves. Denali is one of the only national parks where you are encouraged to find your own path off the trails, great for those of you looking for pure unadulterated adventure. There are plenty of optional walks and activities (see trip notes) to pass your time in Denali or you can take to the skies on a scenic (and highly recommended) glacier landing flight. As the trails are wild and unmarked, the hiking opportunities are endless. Your tour leader will suggest some local spots of scenic beauty and the best spots to view wildlife. Optional: Denali scenic flight US$524 Dogsled demonstration in Denali US$Free Mountain biking in Denali, US$20-$57 Whitewater rafting in Denali US$92-$187
Second day exploring Denali National Park.
Head into the heart of the Alaska mountain range to spend the night in local cabins at Maclaren Lodge. With spectacular views of the surrounding valley this rustic lodge provides the ideal setting for an authentic Alaskan experience. Although rooms are basic ‘bunkhouse’ style, its remote location is something to savour, with the chance to look out for grazing caribous near the quiet lakes of the tundra. This is also a birder’s paradise with many species often sighted, you can even take a fishing trip to fish for the local speciality, Arctic Grayling.
The scenery keeps on coming thick and fast and today is no different. Drive through the dramatic Copper River Valley and stop for a short walk on the Liberty Falls Trail, just off the Edgerton Highway en route to the small town of McCarthy (population 40 in the summer, 17 the remainder of the year). This quaint settlement at the centre of a mass of mountains, glaciers and wilderness will be your base to explore Wrangell-St Elias for the next two nights. Wrangell-St Elias National Park and Preserve contains nine of the sixteen highest peaks in the United States, including the second highest, Mount. St. Elias (5,488m), and is the most glaciated region in the North American continent. An imposing area of glaciers, mountains, forest and wilderness, with wonderful wildlife viewing opportunities including Dall Sheep, mountain goats, caribou, moose, Grizzly and Black Bear are just some of the parks inhabitants. Included in your trip is either a full day ice climbing on the Root Glacier or the chance to fix crampon’s to your boots, and hike around exploring its deep blue pools.
Second day exploring Wrangell-St Elias. Optional: Ghost Town tour - Kennecott Copper Mill US$28 Wrangell St-Elias scennic flight US$120-$270
Your journey continues towards Valdez, passing through the Chugach Range. Stop at the famous Worthington Glacier, adjacent to the Thompson Pass for a short walk and yet more wildlife spotting. On the rivers, fish wheels have been built to catch salmon migrating up-stream to spawn. Explore the busy seaside town of Valdez, a return to civilisation after the mountainous isolation of McCarthy. Valdez is a new town, as a major earthquake destroyed the old one in 1964. There are various hiking trails in and around Valdez such as the Mineral Creek Trail or the Keystone Canyon Pack Trail, or you can visit the historical museum to learn about the native culture, gold rush history and the pipeline. Optional: Valdez Sea Kayaking US$99-$249
Second day exploring Valdez. Optional: Valdez Sea Kayaking US$259
Today is a full day drive towards the small fishing town of Seward. Although you will be in the vehicle for most of the day, the wonderful dramatic scenery will keep you entertained and you'll stop along the way at various view points. In its past life, Seward was a railroad port which means there is now plenty of great shopping and a picturesque old-time downtown area.
Set off on a full day wildlife viewing cruise around Resurrection Bay and the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. To maximise your experience on board your guide will give a detailed commentary on the wildlife you see and local area. On previous trips travelers have spotted Stellar sea lions, otters, Dall’s porpoise and an endless variety of seabirds including puffins and eagles. Orcas are often spotted and if you’re lucky, Humpback whales! Enjoy a fresh salmon and prime rib dinner on board (included vegetarian options available).
The staggeringly beautiful Kenai Fjords National Park offers wonderful wildlife and bird watching opportunities amidst dramatic fjords and glaciers. Within the park is the huge Harding Icefield, claiming 300 square miles in its entirety and Exit Glacier is one of the 30 frozen rivers flowing off the icefield. If weather conditions permit, take a spectacular walk from Exit Glacier to the Harding Icefield for views of deep crevasses and huge seracs on the glacier. At an elevation 900m you will eventually reach a lookout point over the icefield and the views will be out of this world. The walk is strenuous and entirely dependent on weather conditions; if there is too much snow and ice on the trail, it may be impassable. There's an easier option available if you prefer, using an accessible trail to reach a different viewpoint of the glacier. For those who want to explore Seward a little more, the impressive Sea Life Centre, which houses a remarkable public aquarium and ocean wildlife rescue centre, is a fun place to visit.
Head to Soldotna, your launch site for the bear float plane activity. Float planes are a way of life for many of the more remote Alaskan communities, particularly those who still have no road access and too little space amongst the mountains to build runways. Float planes generally seat a maximum of 10 and you’ll take to the air for a beautiful flight across the Cook Inlet. Land in the Big River Lakes area and transfer to the waiting boats to explore the river and lake system keeping your eyes open for bears. The lakes are just on the fringe of the Lake Clarke Park & Wilderness Reserve but a long way from any roads and civilisation and the chance of bear sightings is excellent; you can usually see Brown (Grizzly) or Black bears here. You may see thousands of salmon pushing up-stream to spawn and if you’re really lucky, you’ll spot bears catching and feeding upon them. This is Alaska at its best, almost completely untouched wilderness with a backdrop of ice-clad mountains and active volcanoes. Please note: Due to the remoteness of the area, there will be no toilet facilities available so you should be prepared for basic conditions. You will be on board a boat nearby to where fisherman will be and your guide is likely to be a fisherman. As bears have a tendency to come to the water to hunt and drink, it can involve time spent waiting however, the rewards are awesome and the opportunity to spend time in the Alaskan wilderness is incredible.
After packing up camp and having breakfast, you’ll drive for a couple of hours to Alyeska in the Chugach Mountain Range which is ideal for a final wilderness walk before returning to the state’s capital, Anchorage. Containing around half the population of the state, Anchorage in some ways looks just like any other sprawling American town and after nearly two weeks in the small towns and villages the bustling streets of the city will feel somewhat different. Explore the art galleries and craft shops where you can see the beautiful Eskimo handicrafts being made. The National Parks Centre also has some excellent displays. This tour ends at our gateway hotel in Anchorage at approximately 5:00pm. We can book your post-tour accommodation if required. If you are planning to fly tonight, please do not book a flight that departs before 9:00pm. People booking Flight Inclusive with Exodus will have an extra night in the hotel and depart tomorrow.
11 nights participatory camping, 1 night in multi-share cabins, 1 night hotel (plus 1 hotel night post-tour in Anchorage for Flight Inclusive bookings only)
2 daywalks, and up to 8 shorter walks
Group normally 6 to 13, plus leader. Min age 18 yrs
All meals whilst camping (excluding 2 dinners)
Food in Alaska is of good quality, but because of the high standard of living and the cost of transporting food to far away places, it is more expensive than in Europe; this particularly applies to eating out in restaurants. There is no lack of fresh produce with the exception of a few places far inland. There is an abundance of excellent fresh fish so if you like seafood, you can eat your heart out! Camp meals are western style, plentiful and can be as varied as the group likes. The trip cost covers all meals whilst camping (excluding 2 dinners), but you will need to allow for meals in Anchorage and the same again for McCarthy. Please note when eating group meals a tip of approx. 20% is automatically added by American restaurants to all bills.
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