Alaska - Amazing Wilderness - June 8-15, 2014
Remote trails through landscapes shaped by glaciers, earthquakes and storms, almost perpetual daylight and the chance of hearing distant wolves make this Walk a truly amazing experience.
We visit the Independence Mine Historical site, once one of Alaska's most productive gold mines, and cruise the pristine waters of the Kenai Fjords National Park and watch out for orcas! Walking part of the National Historical Iditarod Trail takes us deep into Eagle River's Nature Center, where tiny birds will alight on your hand.
Everyone enjoys the dog-sled ride, and we will get to meet champion Alaskan Husky sled dogs and their puppies.
|Date||08-JUN-14 - 15-JUN-14|
8 days, 7 nights.
Walk Rating: Moderate. Undulating paths, mud and roots. 3-10 miles walking per day.
US$4295.00 per person double occupancy
US$4295.00 per person double occupancy
The walk begins and ends in Anchorage, Alaska.
We meet in Anchorage. We are welcomed to Alaska by the manager of the Oscar Anderson House Museum, the only house museum in Anchorage, where we learn the surprising history of the town of Anchorage. After our tour we drive to the beautiful Matanuska Susitna Valley for a tour of Tom Williams’ Reindeer Farm. The farm was one of the original Matanuska Colony Farms of the 1940s and is still run by the Williams’ family. We continue to the remote Knik River Lodge for our welcome cocktails and dinner.
We visit the Musk Ox Farm to meet these amazing creatures who have roamed the earth since the Ice Age, and learn about quiviut, the finest wool in the world. Then we head up to Hatcher's Pass for a delicious lunch made from fresh Alaskan products. After lunch, we hike the trails around the abandoned Independence Mine Historical Site and hike up to Gold Cord Lake. This is a pleasant hike that will take only about an hour but you’ll have spectacular views of Independence Mine and the Matanuska Valley. Gold Cord Lake is a perfect example of remote alpine wilderness. After lunch we visit Independence State Mine where we will enjoy a guided tour of the historical site. The Mine was one of Alaska’s most productive gold mines in its heyday but was shut down in 1943 due to World War II.
We visit the Eklutna Historical Heritage Park in the Dena’aina Athabaskan village of Eklutna, an original Native village. Archaeological evidence tells us the cemetery has been used since 1650. Russian Orthodox Missionaries converted the Natives to the orthodoxy in 1840s. The spirit houses and the tiny St. Nicholas Orthodox Church have become poignant and illustrative favorites in South Central Alaska. After the visit to Eklutna, a short drive takes us to the Eagle River’s Nature Center for an 8 mile loop of easy hiking. Keep an eye out for wildlife: dragon flies, birds, sign of bears, beavers, moose – we may even hear wolves! We will be walking along the National Historical Iditarod Trail much of the way. The hike takes us through dense forest to secluded spots that are popular with dragon flies and several types of birds. We continue to our hotel in Anchorage to relax before dinner at the nearby Glacier Brewhouse.
All aboard the Anchorage to Seward Alaska Railroad for our Kenai Fjords Tour! We have an early wake up call because we’ll be catching the train at the historic Anchorage depot for a 6:45 departure. The Alaska Railroad takes us along one of the most beautiful routes in Alaska. We travel around downtown Anchorage, into Turnagain Arm and through the Chugach National Forest to Seward. The trip is beautiful and especially interesting as it takes you into territory accessible only by train. Seward is a harbor town founded in 1903 by the Alaska Central Railroad. The spot was perfect for bringing supplies and equipment to Alaska because of its year-round ice-free, deep water harbor which sits on Resurrection Bay. We walk the very short distance to the boat harbor, where we board a cruise boat and begin our tour of the beautiful Kenai Fjords National Park. A cruise through the pristine waters of Resurrection Bay is the only way to experience much of this park. A National Park Service Ranger will be on board to explain how the landscape was shaped by glaciers, earthquakes and storms through the centuries. The boat will take you near large bird rookeries, glaciers and sea lion colonies. Be sure to keep a look out for Orcas! The puffins are favorites to watch. We’ll have a lunch of fresh Alaska salmon and prime rib on the boat. After the four hour cruise, we’ll come back to Seward and walk to our hotel. This evening we dine at our hotel in their award winning restaurant which specializes in local seafood!
Our day begins with a short drive from Seward to Mitch Seavey’s Iditaride Kennels. Mitch Seavey is a lifelong Alaskan and Iditarod Champion. The Iditarod, also known as the Last Great Race, is the ultimate test of musher and sled dog. The Seaveys will take us on a ride behind a specially designed Alaskan Husky summer sled. You will meet the mushers, dog handlers and the Alaskan Husky sled dogs and their puppies. We set out for a short hike to Exit Glacier, which is the only part of Kenai Fjords National Park accessible by trail. After our hike, which takes us through dense rain forest as well as bare rock, recently exposed by the receding glacier, we have lunch along the Resurrection River. After lunch, we drive to the small town of Hope, Alaska. This tiny town offers a chance for us to see “the real Alaska” that has been touched by very little tourism. We will have a guided tour of the museum grounds by people who have lived in Hope for many years. From there it is a short drive to our hotel in Girdwood. This is a small resort town which began as a mining community and pre-dates Anchorage. It sits in a glacially carved valley, surrounded by mountains which are topped by seven glaciers. Dinner will be at the acclaimed Double Musky in Girdwood – an Alaskan institution known for its creole favorites.
Today we will hike seven miles round trip up Crow Pass to Raven Glacier. While the trail is mostly uphill, we set out on an easy pace taking lots of time off to take in the amazing views along the way! We’ll have lunch at the beautiful Pass, then hike on to see Raven Glacier. If the weather turns rainy, we will visit the Portage Glacier Begich Boggs Visitor Center at the edge of Portage Lake. The only way to see Portage Glacier is on an hour long boat tour that takes us up close and personal with the glacier. After the boat ride, we will walk to the Byron Glacier trailhead for a 1.5 mile round trip to the viewpoint. Dinner tonight is a real treat!
We hike a beautiful trail that begins right behind the Alyeska Prince Hotel in Girdwood and takes us into a dense, primeval rainforest. Round trip it’s about 6 miles with an elevation gain of 260 feet. After our hike, we enjoy lunch at the famous Alyeska Bake Shop and head to Crow Creek Mine to learn how to mine! The mine is still owned by an old Alaska family, who live there year round. Our guide will be someone who actually has ‘gold fever’, so we’ll learn firsthand how to look for gold! And you take home a really unique souvenir – you get to keep whatever gold you find! We meet at the Alyeska ski tram for our trip up the mountain where our farewell dinner will be served atop the mountain at the Seven Glaciers restaurant. We will dine among spectacular views of the seven glaciers that surround Girdwood.
After breakfast we head back towards Anchorage stopping first at Potter Marsh Wildlife Refuge where we will be met by an Audubon Society guide. We will look for moose, bald eagles, water birds, and spawning salmon. After the short walk we head back to Anchorage where we say farewell.
This itinerary represents a typical Walk. We prepare itineraries well in advance of the trip and therefore we reserve the right to make changes due to weather, local events or other circumstances - but always to improve the experience of our guests.
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Knik River Lodge - Sunday & Monday
Knik River Lodge
29979 E. Knik River Road
Palmer, Alaska 99645
T: +1 907 745-5002
F: +1 907 745-5024
The Knik River Lodge is in a remote setting deep in the mountains situated at the edge of a glacial river. The cabins are well appointed and offer most of the comforts of home. Relax with an in-room movie, or read a book on your private deck overlooking the mountains. All cabins have a private bathroom with a neo-angle shower and flushing toilet. You will find luxurious bedding with down duvets, soft sheets and amenities usually only found in luxury hotels. Experience a comfortable stay in the Alaskan wilderness. High-speed internet access and mobile phone coverage allow you to connect with friends, family and co-workers and share the natural wonders that surround you.
Captain Cook Hotel - Tuesday
939 W. 5th Ave.
Anchorage, AK 99501
T: +1 907-276-6000
A luxury hotel, in downtown Anchorage with three restaurants, a coffee bar, athletic club and shops including men's and women's clothing and outdoor apparel stores, fine jewelry, gift shops, art galleries, a barber shop, and beauty salon.
Each guest rooms feature luxury linens, complimentary wireless Internet access, robes, hair dryers, ironing boards and irons.
Hotel Seward - Wednesday
221 5th avenue
Seward AK, 99664
T: 907-224-8001 and 1-800-440-2444
The hotel is located in the heart of downtown Seward within steps of the Alaska SeaLife Center, museum, Native cultural center, restaurants and shopping. The comfortable bedrooms have a variety of amenities including Cable TV, hairdryer, coffeemaker and wireless internet access.
This hotel list is a provided as an example. We may use different hotels of the same quality and style on specific trips. The Wayfarers will notify confirmed travelers of any changes to the hotels.
Before & After Your Walk:
Weather in South-central Alaska is difficult to predict and can change rapidly. The area generally enjoys mild temperatures, even in the winter, because of the influence of the Japanese current that flows through the Gulf of Alaska. Summer temperatures range from the mid-40s to low 70s (Fahrenheit). Snow is not unusual on the tops of the mountains in June. Anchorage averages 2.3” of rain in June and 5.14” in August. Seward and the Kenai Fjords National Park receive the most rain in our walk area averaging 68 inches of rain per year. South-central Alaska enjoys 19 hours of daylight in June and 15 hours of daylight in August.
Most of our hiking will be in a temperate rainforest so it is important to be prepared for cool, rainy weather – but don’t forget your sunglasses and sunscreen, either! The sun is very strong when it comes out, especially on the water in Kenai Fjords National Park. It’s best to dress in layers and always carry raingear no matter what the weather looks like when we start the day!
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Our Vacations do not include the cost of air or rail fares to and from the destination or tips for your walk leader and manager.
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Our maximum group size is 16, but groups average between 8-12 people.
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