I need some information
I'm a young guy from Belgium (20 years) and me and a friend are brewing a crazy plan to go to alaska next summer (august and july)
Now we have absolutely no idea what's possible and what we can do in Alaska.
What we were thinking is to fly to Wasilla or an airport in Canada(and go from their to Alaska, we don't know what's the best option) and try to see some great places in Alaska( we don't know what)
We want to:
-do some cayaking
- see whales (don't know if possible during this period of the year)
-and ofcours do some hiking, but here we think lays the biggest problem! we are not really expierenced hikers and we have absolutely no clue what's possible in Alaska! Is it safe to hike? We know we can't just go in to the backcountry and start walking. But what is possible? What are to good places to see? What about transport? What about ....?
like you noticed my questions ar every basic. But this is waht we have to know to get started! We want to make a once in a lifetime trip. But we'd like to come back from this once in liftime trip!
so dear people!
Can you help us? And I'm sorry again for the stupidness of my questions, we sound like 2 idiots who think they can do everything, but we'd just like to know what's possible!
thank you in advance!!!!
sincerly, 2 belgian guys
Welcome to the forum!
As far as travel, your best bet is to fly into Anchorage. Some airlflines fly from Europe to Seattle Washington, then up to Anchorage, others fly into other US hubs and then straight to Anchorage.
It's difficult to see much of the state on your own unless you rent a vehicle. If you do rent a vehicle, you can travel around the state and hike in many different locations. Hiking trails are available from dead flat to technical trails.
As far as Kayaking, the city of Whittier just South of Anchorage has many places that rent kayaks. They also have outfits that will take you out on a larger boat and drop you off in protected waters for single day or multi day trips.
I understand your predicament, coming to another country and not knowing where to start. Now, there are several van tours that do a good job visiting most of the highlights in the state. I would say rent a car and copy the itinerary of one of their trips. REI Adventures is one company and I know there are others. Look them up online, study their itinerary and come back to the forum with more questions.
One thing to look into is a direct flight from Frankfurt to Anchorage with Condor Airlines, I think they are a subsidiary of Luftansa? They fly direct during the summer months. That would save some time in getting here.
But I think I have to add some extra information about our travel situation
First of all, and this might sound odd for you guys, but we don't have a drivers license. In belgium you can do everything by bike or public transportation, so is it possible to move from spot to spot without a rent car? Is it maybe possible to hitchhike or is that not really popular in Alaska? Is there public transportation? Maybe we could rent scooters or something.
Another question: Is it possible to camp in the wild or are you obligated to camp in guarded areas? What's the risk incl. animals and things like that?
We'd like to do something adventurous and do it on our own, because we dislike travelling in touristgroups.
Maybe it's impossible but that's why I ask these questions
Thanks again for responding so soon! You're a great help.
You can get around w/o a car. There are plenty of folks that hitchike, though I don't know how succesful that is. There are also folks that come up and bicycle. I don't know of any places that rent scooters. Our roads are quite rough in areas, so I wouldn't recomend touring the state on a scooter.
My recomendation of a good trip if you came into Anchorage would be to head up to Fairbanks via the parks highway, stopping at Denali Park. You can take a train from Anchorage to Fairbanks, and it stops at the park. Then I'd South on the Alcan highway, take the cutoff to GlennAllen then head down to Valdez. Not sure on what sort of shuttle would be available for that leg. From Valdez you can take the Alaska Marine Ferry to Whittier. Spend some time in Whittier Kayaking. Then you could either head back to Anchorage, and there are plenty of ways to get a shuttle to Anchorage (or take the train) or you could head down to Homer, then back to Anchorage.
As far as camping, there are plenty of campgrounds in the state, and so long as you aren't camping on someones private property, there are plenty of other sites to set up camp in the woods. Bears are the only animal to be concerned with, and they generally don't bother campers. Keep your food out of your tent, and pick up a couple cans of pepper spray.
Here's a great resource for hikes around the greater Anchorage area, you could easily spend a couple months on just these trails and not hike all of them.
The Kenai Canoe lake trails are well worth visiting.
must have book for that area
Another good set of trails if you head to Homer are on the other side of the bay and reached via a water taxi. You can fly from Anchorage to Homer.
You folks may also consider taking the Alaska Railroad from Anchorage to Seward. You could fly directly to Anchorage, catch the train, and your adventure would be well on its way.
The train to Seward meanders through a beautiful mountain pass. There are no roads, towns, or any permanent population. The train will let you out, and you can do as much hiking as you desire. When you decide it's time to move on, you can hop back on the train and head to Seward.
Seward is located on the ocean, and there are plenty of opportunties to rent a kayak an go paddling. You should be able to find a tour operator willing to take you out whale watching. You will not find whales on your own.
The train would take you right back to Anchorage when you are done.
Good luck, and enjoy!
Originally Posted by robbev_belgium
There are several companies that run buses in the summer from Anchorage to Whittier, Seward, Homer, and Denali National Park. I don't have personal experience with any of them so I hesitate to recommend any one in particular. I would suggest googling "Anchorage Denali Seward bus" or something like that.
Good places to visit for kayaking are Whittier, Seward, or Homer. For a first kayak trip, Prince William Sound (accessed through Whittier) is a good choice. Kachemak Bay State Park (from Homer) is also good. Ressurection Bay (out of Seward) is good, but can have somewhat more demanding conditions in my experience. There are several companies in all those towns that run guided trips or (if you have some experience) will rent kayaks to do your own trips. Paddling is great, but be careful. Conditions can change rapidly, you can be a long way from help, and the water is VERY COLD.
For hiking I would recommend Denali National Park. Once you get to the park entrance you can stay in the entrance area campground and then ride the park buses in each day. You can get off the bus almost anywhere and do excellent day hiking. Backpacking in Denali Park requires a permit (easy to get). The Park Service limits the number of people camping in each area so you won't be crowded.
For any Alaska hiking or camping you need to be prepared for a wide range of conditions. It can be a severe climate even in summer. Prepare for wind and heavy rain, then if you get warm sunny days you can really enjoy it. Bears are not as big an issue, in my experience, as people think. Just be alert, keep a clean camp with food well away from tents, keep your eyes open and carry bear spray.
Lots more than I can tell you in a short message, but this will get you started. Be careful, but have fun!