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Posted 17/09/2021 in Alaska by Rachael Hackney

Alaska

This trip was beyond my wildest dreams! Alaska is such an untouched state with the majority of it only accessible via ship or plane.  I started off in Vancouver Canada on the Island Princess Cruise to take in a 14 Day trip which included Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay National Park (Scenic Cruising), College Fjord (Scenic Cruising), Anchorage (Whittier), Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge, Mt. Mckinley Princess Wilderness Lodge and Anchorage. 

There is nothing like waking up in the morning and walking out onto your balcony and seeing the snow-capped mountains and then the ship turns the corner and suddenly there is a glacier or a cascading waterfall, all I can say is that you better have your camera with you at all time, do not leave it in your cabin.

Once in a lifetime experiences await you in Alaska, I think my biggest problem with Alaska is there are too many things to do at each port and I can see why so many people cruise Alaska time and time again. I filled up every day with shore tours and when I could not get on a shore tour I went touring on my own! None of the shore tours disappointed me however my ultimate one was a helicopter flight to Hubbard Glacier, it was a two-part landing, the first part was to visit the sled dogs and then the second landing was a little bit lower on the glacier to be able to experience the ice, crevices and taste the beautiful glacial water.

I used to own sled dogs and I could not wait to see where the famous Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race carries on the racing tradition that started in those early days. It commemorates those intrepid mushers and their dogs, who fought through blizzard conditions to bring a life-saving diphtheria serum to Nome in 1925. And it also captures the spirit of a long-ago mushing lifestyle, which began to fade away as aeroplanes and snowmachines made travel between villages and larger towns faster and more convenient, so imagine my excitement of being able to experience sledding on the top of Hubbard Glacier! I also did carting in Juneau that morning so I was able to cuddle a lot of dogs that day!

Don't forget to go to all the talks on the ship as you will learn so much about the wildlife and the glaciers/scenery. It was fantastic to be able to go to a talk with Libby Riddles the first woman to win the Iditarod and an acclaimed author of three books. I loved also the commentary where you would race to a certain point on the ship to be able to spot the pod of whales or even those cute little otters that float on their back beside the ship.

A massive highlight was seeing my first bear in the wild actually I saw two at Icy Straight Point this was fantastic and another thing ticked off the bucket list! 

Adding to the cruise was being able to spend time on land in the Princess Lodges getting there via the Alaska Rail. Seeing the scenery on the land and touring around added another element.  I was especially fortunate to be able to see Denali. Denali is the highest mountain peak in North America, with a summit elevation of 20,310 feet above sea level, and a lot of the time it is hidden in the clouds, there are even t-shirts in all the gift shops "I Saw Denali".

I really could speak for hours about my Alaska trip, I cannot wait to go back and experience this amazing place more in-depth!



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