Wild Alaska – A look inside America’s Last Frontier
Alaska’s magnificent mountain peaks, green timberlands, and nearly 34,000 miles of protected coastal waters contain awe-inspiring scenery. Step inside this expansive frontier and you have a chance to see elk, bears, moose, Bald Eagles, humpback whales, sea otters, and other wildlife in astounding natural habitats.
In August, Holbrook Travel’s Director of Sales and Marketing, Chris Bensley, traveled to two of Alaska’s natural treasures: Denali State Park and Prince William Sound. In addition to exploring conservation initiatives with local organizations, he had the opportunity to sample a variety of activities including hiking, rafting, kayaking and boating. Read Chris's insights and highlights below:
Orca Adventure Lodge, Cordova
Our 1st stop after Anchorage was Orca Adventure Lodge. Nestled at the head of Orca Inlet in Prince William Sound, the lodge offers outstanding views of the bay and surrounding peaks. A restored cannery, the lodge has 40 rooms and offers a myriad of activities from hiking, kayaking, and boating, to glacier tours in one of the most beautiful parts of Alaska. Not only are the guides top-notch, the food is superb as well!
Kayaking from the lodge, you’ll be greeted by friendly sea otters.
Our guide oriented us on kayaking, then we set out on the glacial lake to view crystal blue caves and jagged crevasses. We had a picnic lunch on shore or on a small island then kayaked back through the ever changing terrain.
Heney Ridge Trail
This excursion takes you through three completely different ecosystems, including spruce-hemlock forest and muskeg areas, which provide gorgeous views!
Next, we traveled to a historic village, nestled at the base of Denali. Talkeetna has an outstanding panoramic view of the Alaska Range. It is an authentic outpost town that serves as the gateway to adventure: flightseeing, fishing, float trips, hiking, and places to dine with locally brewed beer (tasty!).
Denali Overlook Inn
We checked in to our lodging. Just outside of Talkeetna, the Denali Overlook Inn sits high above the Birch Creek wetlands. It features a stunning Great Room, a wall of windows overlooking the mountains, open archways, magnificent masonry, and exquisite post and beam construction.
The view from the Denali Overlook Inn showcases expansive views of the Alaska Range to the west and the Talkeetna Mountains to the east.
Byers Lake in Denali State Park
We took a two-mile nature walk with magnificent views of Byers Lake and surrounding mountains, and then took a short canoe ride. We learned about the area's animal and plant life and explored a log cabin that once belonged to a pioneering couple.
Mount Denali - Denali Flightseeing Tour
At 20,320 feet, Denali is the highest peak in North America. We couldn’t pass up a chance to see Denali up close on a K-2 Flightseeing tour. If weather permits, you can even land on a glacier not far from the summit. We lucked out with the views of the summit-- spectacular.
We took in views of Denali from the glacial waters of the Chulitna River in Talkeetna. Then it was back to Anchorage for the flight home. Fabulous expedition!