Thursday, July 24, 2008

Planes, Trains, Automobiles, Boats And Dog Sleds

Start on the 12th... go go go go go go go go... end on the 20th.
Fly to Seattle, meet up with Dad, then take off for Anchorage. Hit up some dinner, which begins the stint of fresh Alaskan fish. I was also pleased to find out that Alaskans seem to like oatmeal stout beer!

Hop on the Alaskan Railroad for a six hour ride to Denali followed closely by more fresh Alaskan fish in my increasingly happy belly with a buffet at the Cabin Nite Dinner Theatre

Crossing one of the glacier silt filled rivers

Join 48 other (mostly) happy travelers on a very well announced bus tour into Denali National Park to see all of the big five - grizzly, moose, wolf, caribou, and dahl sheep. On a clear day, you can see Mt. Mckinley (at 20,320ft it is the highest peak in North America), but as you can tell from the photos, we didn't see it that day.

Even on a rainy day, the views are spectacular

It's not every day you see a wolf running down the side of the road

I guess this picture answers that age ol' question.

We started the day with some much needed exercise by hiking into three lakes
Later that day, we hopped an eight seater headed to Talkeetna via Mt. Mckinley. That was the most amazing scenery my eyes have ever witnessed without any doubt.

Mckinley to the left with a cloud "water fall" in center stage

More Mckinley with many of it's surrounding peaks
These are just the "foothills" to Mckinley

Hop on Mahay's jet boat (made in Lewiston by Bentz Boats) for a day tour up the Susitna River to the Devil's Canyon rapids. The rapids have only been successfully navigated in a jet boat twice and attempted four times. Along side the bottom of the rapids, we saw salmon surfacing, taking a break before attempting the rapids. To finish the day off, we hopped the train to head back to Anchorage.

Not an easy shot, a double panorama when the boat's bouncing every which way!

Hop the train again and head on down to Seward for a tour of their aquarium and a cruise around on Kenai Fjords half-day cruise. The cruise included many sightings of dall's porpoises, humpback whales, sea lions, sea otters and puffins.

The line from Anchorage to Seward has some amazing views and super tight turns that I had no idea trains could make

Resurrection Bay filled with a few boats

Going around Aialik Cape

Aialik Glacier, which we saw multiple pieces break off, but one that was substantial. I only got the large wave from that one. I bet some of the photographers out there with us caught it falling.

Start the day with a bus tour around the outer edges of Seward, a hike to Exit Glacier and a tour of a dog sled camp followed by a two mile ride behind 14 extremely motivated pooches.

Getting the shot of the salmon making the jump proved to be tough

Makes you want to jump in and grab lunch, that's what the two brown bears near by were doing

Rambo seems like a fitting name. These are mostly the young pups learning to run with a couple ol' pros guidance

Later that day, we hopped the train back to Girdwoord to stay in Alaska's only four star hotel, the Alyeska Resort

The train ride to go rafting down the Placer River went all the way to Whittier first, so we got to see nearly the entire Alaska Railroad. All we missed was from Denali to Fairbanks. After rafting, we headed back to Anchorage for the last time, this time via bus.

Whittier port

Taking off on the rafting trip, going through Spencer Lake which was full of glowing blue miniature icebergs that had popped off of Spencer Glacier

Spencer Lake and Glacier

Anchorage to Seattle back to Miss Charlene, who was missed A LOT!

Anchorage from 12 stories up

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