Camden, your Nana (Gaga) and I are home now from our fourteen day adventure. We took a plane to Vancouver, Canada and spent a day running around there. Okay walking.
Then we spent seven days on a boat. Now this boat was a little smaller than I have been on in the past, but Camden it was also a little bigger than Uncle Barry’s boat at the lake. Just a little bigger. One day I hope that you go on an adventure to Alaska and if decide on taking a cruise I recommend taking along some Dramamine. Just in case.
While on the boat we visited Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Skagway, Hubbard Glacier, and Seward. They kicked us off the boat in Seward so we took a bus to Anchorage. The ride to Anchorage was beautiful so resist the temptation to nap.
Spent the night in Anchorage, and I recommend the Glacier Brewhouse on 5th Street. Good food and decent beer. I am telling you that so you can give your folks a heads up. It will probably be about five years or so until you taste a beer. Yes maybe you and I will open a vintage bottle of Bud Light to celebrate your eight birthday. Maybe?
No, I did not have a Bud Light at the Glacier Brewhouse. I did not see it on the menu. I had some sort of fruity beer, but not an IPA. I try to stay away from bitter beer face. When you get there tell them that Papa sent you. They will not give a shit, but tell them anyway.
Aunt Connie and Uncle Brad decided to end their trip in Anchorage and resume their lives in the lower 48. We decided to stay in Alaska a little while longer. They will be missed. Okay they were missed for about five seconds. I had visions of Denali National Park dancing in my head. Just kidding, I do wish that had made the trip to Denali. Brad and I could have been Denali National Park Spades Champions. Yes!!
We took a train early the next morning to get to the park. We were in Denali about four days.
Now for most of the trip I have worn sunglasses every day. The sun has been shinning, except at Hubbard Glacier.
But noooo, not in Denali, never even took my sunglasses out of the case. Good thing I had my emergency rain coat. It rained most of the time we were there. When it was not raining it was very cloudy.
Had a great time in the park, but unfortunately it was too cloudy to see the top of Mt. Denali while in the park. The mountain is so tall that it creates its own weather. They say that only about 30 percent of the visitors to Denali are able to see the top of the mountain, it is the highest peak in North America.
So while in Denali we took a bus tour through the park. The park road is about 95 miles long, but visitors are only allowed to drive the first 15 or 19 miles. I cannot remember which one. So we booked a 13 hour guided bus trip with Kantishna Wilderness Trail Tours. They took us the entire 95 miles into the park and thankfully the 95 miles back.
During the trip we saw moose, caribou, sheep, a fox, ground squirrels, and of course…bears. Oh my.
So that means that on this trip I have seen humpback whales, orcas, sea lions, harbor seals, sea otters, Dall porpoises, several different kinds of salmon, bald eagles, moose, caribou, mountain goats, a fox, ground squirrels, and bears. Of course I have also seen several different types of birds as well, but sorry little bird if you were not a bald eagle I did not pay attention. I think I did see a partridge in a pear tree. Maybe?
Oh I almost forgot to mention we saw dogs, a lot of dogs. In Skagway we went to a dog sled and mushers camp where they train dogs for the Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race. We were pulled on a sled with wheels and of course we got to hold the puppies. They were so cute.
Camden we were not far from the North Pole. Did not see Santa, but we saw several of his reindeer. Rudolf might have been able to help us, but his nose was just not bright enough in the mist and fog. We could not see him.
The day after the wilderness tour we hooked up with Denali Raft Adventures and floated the Nenana River for 11 miles. I was not sure about the company at first. It appears they frown upon taking anything extra with you in the rafts. I was thinking just what kind of float trip was this going to be without a cooler.
Then I learned that this was a whitewater rafting trip and we would be going through eight rapids in which several were class III and IV. Okay, okay, no cooler. (I did not book this adventure: Christy did. I would have asked about a cooler.)
The Nenana is a glacier fed river and the water is about 34 degrees. It was a fun little ride even without a cooler. The river was up due to all the rain which made it even more interesting. They had me put on a wet suit, but even with a wet suit you will get wet and yes it is cold. If you are sitting at the front of the raft you are going to get really wet.
I recommend Denali Raft Adventures. Good job Christy. Remember no coolers. Bring an extra pair of dry wool socks for the trip back to your hotel. You could really use more than one pair. Experience talking here.
Camden I am looking forward to taking you on a float trip. We will have a cooler floating the Current River. I bring that up because our bus driver grew up in Salem, Missouri. Which made me think of past float trips on the Current.
Our driver has been in Alaska for five years. He is one of the few people who I have met who stay here year round. He told me that Denali has one stop light. (Sounds like Wellsville. Wellsville is not as pretty.) In late September when all of the tourist leave the area they turn off the stop light and the gas station closes.
Camden do you know what the locals call a traffic jam? That is when someone slows down for a stop sign. Wear your seatbelt.
Denali was fun, but we had to take that train back to Anchorage. Looking on the bright side the train ride meant that I was going to have a brownie covered with ice cream and hot chocolate syrup for desert for both lunch and dinner. I thought of you while enjoying my desert. I gained a few pounds on this trip.
I satisfied my sweet tooth in other ways as well. In Skagway you will find the Alaskan Fudge Company. You will also find them in other Alaskan cities I learned. In the Skagway store I met a young woman named Megan who sold me a few boxes of truffles. You know the chocolate peanut butter truffles, the cookies and cream truffles, and straight up no chaser chocolate truffle. They were amazing.
I paid with a credit card, but if you use cash you will get U.S. dollars and coins back. This is not Canada. Megan noticed who issued my card and asked where I lived. I told her Wichita, Kansas. She said that she was also from Wichita. Actually I learned that she was from Kingman just down the road from Wichita, but close enough. It is a small world, but I would still hate to paint it.
Now Camden you know that I have a problem with eating too much of anything chocolate. I also have another problem that I need to warn you about.
I want to take a minute to warn you about one thing you see quite often in the cities of Alaska. I might not be with you so you need to prepare yourself for this. I am talking: THE GIFT STORE! You cannot go anywhere without running into a GIFT STORE.
Camden I have a problem. I am a sucker for gift stores. Gaga and your mom try to keep me away from gift stores. But if I see one, they know better than to try to keep me out. I cannot be stopped. This trip was no different.
I bought refrigerator magnets, beer mugs, Christmas ornaments, hats, t-shirts, a calendar, books for you and Adalie, shirts for you and Adalie. Maybe Gaga picked out the books and shirts. I approved. Also purchased were wool socks that I wore on the float trip. The socks have cute mooses/messes/moose (take your pick) on them. I do not even know how many postcards I bought.
My addiction at times can cause problems at airports when they weigh my bags. My carry on backpack was very heavy coming home.
Gift stores can be expensive. I know of my problem and planned for it. Financially I had it worked out. I am driving on many of my adventures and I always take cash that I call my bond money. You know that I have been known to drive a little fast. It does not help when you are in the backseat yelling “Faster Papa Faster!” When I am out and about in other states I carry extra cash in case I have to post bond. Not driving this trip so my bond money is being used to pay the gift store tax. Camden when traveling always take bond money. Or you could slow down. No, have the money.
The day after the float trip we take the train back to Anchorage and spend the night. I will talk about my last night in Alaska on the next and I think probably my last Alaskan Adventure Facebook post.
Camden many people who read my blog are subscribers and do not know about my Facebook page. I bring it up today because I have posted several pictures of my adventure there if they would like to take a look. Just use the password “Kevin is the greatest.” Just kidding, it is a public page. No password yet.
This was a great trip Camden that I enjoyed immensely. You will too. I recommend that you take an adventure there. Whether you take a plane, train, automobile, boat or combination of, just get there. You will not be sorry.
I am now planning my next adventure.
Camden, I find being home has its benefits. I have Bud Light in the fridge. I imagine that when I get to your house on Tuesday I will also find Bud Light in your fridge. I might also find some chocolate ice cream. If not, do not worry. Road Trip.
Camden it is now time for me to go downstairs and pour a beer into my recently purchased frosty Alaskan Brewing Company glass which I bought at their Gift Store during my brewery tour.
I was just walking the streets of Juneau when I discovered the brewery tour opportunity. I went and would recommend the tour. It was fun and refreshing. Watch out for their gift store. Especially after sampling a few beers. You have been warned.