Erika's Alaska Trip
by The Backpackers Shop on October 02, 2012
My trip to Alaska last month was probably my favorite to date. There is just no place like it ON EARTH if you love the great outdoors. My friend Katie and I flew into Anchorage and spent a day and a half hiking around and adjusting to the 4 hour time change. We then headed down on the Kenai Peninsula to the Homer Spit where we camped. What a great little fishing town... and the view from our campsite with water on both sides, surrounded by mountains, was truly breathtaking at sunrise. After our time in Homer, we headed up north, and did some hiking. Later we went to Silverton and camped in the pouring rain and high winds (thank you Sierra Designs for keeping us warm and dry).
The next morning we drove up to Six Mile Creek (Chugach Outdoor Outfitters) and did some whitewater rafting. What an AWESOME whitewater trip - one of the best I've ever done. The practice swim in the 35 degree glacial river wasn't my favorite, but totally worth it for the awesome rapids we did that day. The next day we ended up in Seward and hiked up to the Exit Glacier... we also did a boat tour on Resurrection Bay. We saw glaciers in Kenai Fjords National Park, orcas, humpback whales, puffins, sea lions, otters, and even jellyfish. That evening we did the LONG drive up to Denali National Park and stayed outside the park that night.
The next day we had tickets on the 10am camper bus into Denali Park. The 6 hour drive on the camp road (with 6 grizzly sightings!) was TOTALLY worth it when we got out at our final destination - Wonder Lake. We were so excited for our 3 days of hiking/camping in the park. We set up camp and went on our first hike. Denali is not like other parks - it is 6 million acres of wilderness - and no trail maps. A little scary at first thinking about what might happen if we got lost, but after our fist few hikes, we realized it was unlike anywhere we'd ever been. Wonder Lake is also not far from the McKinley river and has phenomenal views of Mt. McKinley (or Denali as they say in Alaska). Despite the minute to minute weather changes from sun... to rain... to snow... to freezing rain... we had a cold, but fabulous time there. Because we were there only days before the park closes for the season, we barely made it out of the park before they closed the roads due to snow. After leaving Denali, we headed up to the Chena Hot Springs near Fairbanks... best decision ever... perfect way to spend the afternoon after days of hiking. We checked out Fairbanks the next day and then headed back to Anchorage. It was so sad to leave... but I know I will definitely go back!
Check out our facebook for more pictures from the trip!
Driving on the Turnagain Arm
Denali Park - Near the Entrance