By: Donna Humble, Senior Travel Consultant
We enjoyed a variety of activities throughout the tour. If you want time to explore Anchorage, then I suggest you add an extra day before or after the tour. Upon arrival, we were greeted by the tour director in the lobby of the hotel who was friendly and informative. That evening, we enjoyed a delicious dinner at one of the local restaurants. The next morning, we headed to Valdez, where we stayed for the next two nights. On our way, we saw Bridal Veil Falls which is often referred to as the Switzerland of Alaska. It was gorgeous! We took a cruise to Prince William Sound where we saw several humpback whales, seals, sea otters and many birds, including the American Bald Eagle. This was truly an amazing experience enjoyed by all. We also saw The Colombia Glacier, which was beautiful and I am thankful we got to see it because each year it is rapidly receding.
Next, we drove to Fairbanks, where we visited Gold Dredge #8. Here, we got the opportunity to pan for gold, which is an experience I will never forget. I was excited to find out that we got to keep all the gold we found and that we were even able to have them put it into jewelry for us.
Later that day, we boarded the sternwheeler Discovery for a cruise on the Chena and Tanana Rivers. We stopped at the Chena Indian village, where we got to see the famous Iditarod dog teams and meet their mushers. We learned about the training that goes into preparing the dogs for the Iditarod. They even did a demonstration of how the dogs pulled the sleds. It was very interesting to see how excited the dogs were, hoping they would be chosen to pull the sled. The dogs barked excitedly almost as if they were crying out, “Choose me! Choose me!”
That evening, we were treated to a special salmon bake. There were several booths with a large selection of food choices. That night, we were treated to a surprise because all the rooms at the hotel were suites which included two bedrooms, a living room, a bathroom and a full kitchen.
The following day, we traveled by train from Fairbanks to Denali National Park. The park’s 6 million acres is home to North America’s highest peak, the 20,320 foot Mount McKinley (Denali). In the evening, we enjoyed dinner at the Murie Science and Learning Center followed by a presentation on Denali National Park.
The next morning, we enjoyed leisure time followed by a Wilderness Expedition into Denali National Park. During our expedition, we saw moose, caribou, dal sheep, bears, an American Bald Eagle, a variety of birds and wildlife. One bear got in front of our bus and walked down the middle the road as we followed behind. Then it was on to Anchorage, where we enjoyed a tour of the Alaskan Native Heritage Center. That evening, the tour director hosted a special farewell dinner followed by storytelling!
The next day, we enjoyed one of the world’s most scenic drives along the south shore of the Turnagain Arm. Upon arrival in Seward, we boarded the boat for a cruise of Kenai Fjords National Park. During the cruise, we saw humpback whales jumping in the air and waving their tails….wow what a show! Next, we saw the beautiful glaciers and watched as they were calving into the sea.
After leaving Seward, we drove back to Anchorage. Along the way we saw the Alaskan pipeline, which brings oil from Alaska to the US. I have seen this on TV before but never realized how big it really was until I was standing beside it. It was a thrill having my picture taken in front of the pipeline. The next morning, we went to the Anchorage Museum and it is definitely worth seeing.
The Spectacular Alaska tour by Globus is a fantastic adventure, and gives you one of the best ways to see a variety of wildlife in their natural habitats. I really enjoyed this tour and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys the outdoors.