ALASKA! The amazing impressions that this destination left me will never be forgotten. From its wild and wooly vibe, its unique wildlife and its vastness of land and sky, this was the ultimate experience in The Last Frontier!
This was a particularly special journey for me because I experienced Alaska with my family—not just my immediate family but 12 family members traveling together from ages 17 to 90! It was my 90-year-old mother’s idea to go to Alaska on a family vacation, and it was worth every moment.
Flying into Anchorage was spectacular with full aerial views of mountain tops, glaciers, and rivers. Once we arrived, we met up with our Insight Vacations tour group, which consisted of a family from South East USA with two children, couples from other states, and a few Aussies. Our Tour Director Debbie has lived in Alaska for over 40 years and was thrilled to tell us about the pioneer lifestyle she and her husband live in the Alaska countryside—the winters, the darkness and the constant light, all of which we experienced. Her tales and stories of life in Alaska rounded out what we actually saw and experienced.
The trip was extremely inclusive and the only extra tours offered were the official Denali Park tours plus the ski plane ride from Lake Hood in Anchorage. Some of the included highlights were unique to Insight Vacations. For example, at Lake Hood, we met a ruggedly handsome pilot, learned of his lifestyle, the lack of roads, and the necessity of flying to reach many regions of Alaska. It was fascinating to know that bears, guns, and landing on roadways is a common reality here, not to mention the freezing temperatures and tons of snow. The stories of snowy adventures and wildlife captivated us all.
Also unique was our visit to the home of the Iditarod champions. They were so down-to-earth and fascinating –we were able to mix and mingle with the dogs, we listened to the stories of the Champion Runners, and watched them run the dogs on dry land. I loved holding the puppies!
A fabulous treat was when we embarked on the Alaska Railroad train in Anchorage for the spectacular journey to Denali. We had a private domed car called the Alaska Wilderness that had a fabulous dining car where we could enjoy gourmet lunches. In the front of the car was our very own Barista to make delicious coffee drinks and more—but most of all the scenery unfolded before us from the city to the forest to the tree line and finally clear gorgeous views of the ghostly Denali (Mt. McKinley), the highest mountain in the USA! We were fortunate to enjoy clear and warm weather throughout our vacation.
Once at Denali, we all signed up for various tours. Many of us did the river rafting and the 7-hour wilderness tour. Rafting was scenic and thrilling, and the wilderness tour, priceless, as it opened up to us this huge sub-arctic desert and its wildlife. We saw moose, caribou, Dall Sheep and bears.
The 26 Glacier Cruise was truly a highlight, seeing the aqua blue ice burgs and watching the glaciers calve—the sound was amazing! Lots of wildlife, too! We saw whales, otters and sea birds.
Finally, our stay in beautiful Alyeska at Alaska’s most premier resort hotel was a wonderful way to cap the tour. Beautiful views from atop the mountain!
Our entire family had an amazing time.
Thank you Insight Vacations!