Last day in Alaska brings salmon and great memories

LAST DAY IN ALASKA – I’m worse than a little kid, Chris Conder jokes. He’s talking about patience—the patience needed to catch fish. We’re in Juneau Alaska out on Conder’s fishing boat Rum Runner trying to catch salmon before we head home. This is Conder’s 20th season taking vacationers out on half day or whole day charters. In winter, he teaches school. He’ll also take guests out whale watching or to photograph whales and eagles. He demonstrates …

Read moreLast day in Alaska brings salmon and great memories

An upclose look at Dawes Glacier in southeast Alaska

DAY 6 ABOARD THE WILDERNESS DISCOVERER— BOOM! We’re about a half mile from the Dawes Glacier in what is called Endicott Arm in Southeast Alaska watching the glacier calve from a skiff driven by the InnerSea Discoveries Wilderness Explorer Captain Dano Quinn. I understand why the Native Tlingits called glaciers “white thunder.” We see harbor seals lounging on chunks of blue ice in the water. The glacier looks like blue cotton candy with chocolate sprinkles. In reality, …

Read moreAn upclose look at Dawes Glacier in southeast Alaska

Kayaking excursion in Alaska- enjoying quintessential Alaskan wilderness

DAY 5 ABOARD THE WILDERNESS DISCOVERER— The old couple was sitting on their porch welcoming us into their home. At least I think they were welcoming us because they were two huge Bald Eagles watching us from a tree stump as we kayaked into an area of Port Houghton in Southeast Alaska known as the Salt Chuck. The harbor seals popped up in the water as if on cue, to say come play! Birds flew overhead. The …

Read moreKayaking excursion in Alaska- enjoying quintessential Alaskan wilderness

All Inclusive “un-cruise” offers a great opportunity to experience the wilderness of Alaska

DAY 4 ABOARD THE WILDERNESS DISCOVERER — WHALEAFORNIA… We are in Frederick Sound in Southeast Alaska where three water masses converge. We don’t really care about that but the whales do. We’re surrounded by Humpback whales as they dive and spout water, some no more than a few hundred yards from our small ship, the InnerSea Discoveries  Wilderness Discoverer. “We plan the itinerary so that we can stop like this,” says our captain, Dano Quinn, who has …

Read moreAll Inclusive “un-cruise” offers a great opportunity to experience the wilderness of Alaska

From Eagles to Starfish-The wildlife abounds in Alaska

DAY 3 ABOARD THE WILDERNESS DISCOVERER– I can’t help but eavesdrop but I can’t quite make out the gist of the conversation. Is the dad telling his child not to venture too far? Is the child telling his dad to lay off? The young one flies off. Did I mention this father and child are Bald Eagles and we are listening to their conversation from kayaks in spectacular Saginaw Bay on Kuiu Island in Southeast Alaska? We …

Read moreFrom Eagles to Starfish-The wildlife abounds in Alaska

We spot dozens of Humpback Whales during our cruise of southeast Alaska

DAY TWO ABOARD THE WILDERNESS DISCOVERER— There’s a spout! There’s a fin! There are flukes!! We are cruising around Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska aboard the InnerSea Discoveries  Wilderness Discoverer when we spy humpback whales. So cool!  Two are off the bow of the ship! “We are able to be extremely flexible,” says Chelsea Leven, who is in her fifth season and is our expedition leader. “We stop to watch wildlife… we can rearrange the …

Read moreWe spot dozens of Humpback Whales during our cruise of southeast Alaska

Day one of our cruise of southeast Alaska

DAY ONE ABOARD THE WILDERNESS DISCOVERER — Southeast Alaska, the Inside Passage Liquid Sunshine. That’s what they call the rain in Southeast Alaska.   And we are enjoying plenty of it kayaking this morning outside of Dry Pass northwest of Ketchikan. We boarded the Inner Sea Discoveries Wilderness Discoverer late yesterday oin a rare sunny afternoon in Ketchikan. Our 78-passenger ship with 26 crew looks like a baby next to the giant cruise ships anchored nearby.  We have …

Read moreDay one of our cruise of southeast Alaska

Beautiful views while flying over the Alaska Range in an air taxi

Day 5 in Camp Denali— In the Land of the Midnight Sun, the alarm rang at 5 a.m. to a grey overcast sky. Other mornings, we could see North America’s highest peak, Mt. Denali (20,300 feet) from the window of our cabin at Camp Denali  deep inside Denali National Park.  Today, we couldn’t see much. Our hopes of flying back to Anchorage around the mountain on Kantishna Air Taxi weren’t looking good.  Not only did we want …

Read moreBeautiful views while flying over the Alaska Range in an air taxi

Guides are a must when hiking though the wilderness areas Denali National Park

DAY 4 In Camp Denali— If only I was a moose. For a few hours anyway. We’re in Denali National Park which is a “trail-less” park, slowly making our way up a gully, bushwhacking our way through willow and poplar. Moose, our Camp Denali guide Brian McCormick told us, easily made their way up—just recently. We’d seen fox tracks as well as moose, caribou and bear in the mud at the edge of the Thoroughfare River as …

Read moreGuides are a must when hiking though the wilderness areas Denali National Park

The history of Camp Denali spans three generations

DAY THREE IN CAMP DENALI — I am trudging straight uphill in spongy tundra in a downpour. In Alaska.  It starts sleeting. We stop for lunch and picnic in the downpour.  We don’t have rain covers for our packs so everything is soaked—including our sandwiches and the spare socks we brought in case our socks got wet. Are we having fun yet? Absolutely! We are in American’s last great wilderness, Denali National Park on one of the …

Read moreThe history of Camp Denali spans three generations

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