For a very long time, I have dreamed of visiting Alaska. I always said, and meant, that “If I won the lottery, the first thing I would do is book my Alaska trip.” That was what I said all throughout the years when Mr. MT Nest and I were raising children, and throughout the years while I was attending graduate school, while we were supporting the kids through college and graduate school, while we were building and later renovating our mountain home, and while we were planning for retirement. We included this dream vacation trip in our retirement plan. In fact, this Alaska trip is the first of a number of bucket list trips we plan to enjoy.
After dreaming of this trip for so long, we wondered if it would live up to our high expectations. Well our dream trip did not disappoint! We enjoyed every moment of the trip. We took hundreds of pictures over the 3 week trip. Here are just a few highlights.
Memories of Alaska:
Denali – “The Great One”
We were told that only 3% of visitors get to see a clear view of Denali. We were among the fortunate ones! On the day of our bus ride from Denali National Park to Anchorage the weather was clear and the sun was shining, and we had great views of the mountain. The bus made a rest stop at a viewing site along the way and we were able to take great photos of the mountain. The sculpture in the photo below looks in the direction of the mountain.
We spent one night at the beautiful Talkeetna Lodge on our way to the Denali Park and went into the town of Talkeetna to explore the sites and the shops in this quirky little village.
We experienced several glaciers at different points of the trip. This is a photo of the Hubbard Glacier.
We saw lots of wildlife of course.
…and experienced Alaskan Native culture
…and breathtaking scenery:
Denali National Park is an awe-inspiring natural wilderness area. Our 12-hour day trip to the end of the park road and back was an incredible experience.
One of my absolutely favorite experiences was the whale-watching excursion. We not only saw many whales, but we witnessed a group of whales bubble-feeding. Bubble-feeding is when a group of whales submerge and expel air under a school of fish the rising bubbles cause the fish to rush to the surface of the water. The whales then surface and feed on the fish. Birds also take advantage of the whales’ efforts and feed on the fish near the water’s surface.
Whale’s flukes as it dives
On our whale-watching trip, we also saw a group of sea lions hanging around a buoy.
I also enjoyed seeing the dog sled teams that help rangers patrol the Denali park year round. These high energy dogs are beautiful and apparently love to run with the sled. When the rangers began assembling the team, all the dogs began jumping and barking. I guess that’s their way of saying “Pick me! Pick me!”
We loved Alaska and will treasure all the memories of our experiences there. We hope to return someday and see even more areas of this beautiful state!