Trip #1: July 9-22, 2021
Trip #2: July 23-Aug 5, 2021
Price includes airfare from Wichita
Final payment or refund by April 1.
Day 1: This is the day we have been waiting and planning for! For those who choose, we meet at the office in Yoder for our transfer to the Wichita airport. We fly into Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, to start our journey. Overnight in Anchorage.
Day 2: This morning enjoy breakfast before leaving by motorcoach. Traveling on Highway 1, our first stop is at the Matanuska Glacier. This is the largest glacier accessible by vehicles in the United States. Its terminus feeds the Matanuska River which we will be traveling alongside this morning. We stop at the Wrangell St. Elias Visitors Center to learn about the largest National Park in the United States, Elias National Park. We also visit Bridal and Horse Tail Falls. Dinner is served on arrival in Valdez. (B, L, D)
Day 3: After breakfast, we board the Stan Stephens Columbia Glacier Cruise, where we visit Prince William Sound and Meers or Columbia Glacier (ice pending). In addition to the amazing ice, we will see wildlife along the way that calls the Sound home. We also learn about the mining, oil shipping, earthquake, and fishing history of the area. A light meal is served on board. (B, L)
Day 4: What an exciting day is in store for us! After breakfast, we depart for a unique day trip experience. We fly on small charter planes into the community of McCarthy. On our flight, we see awe-inspiring views of Mt. Blackburn and Wrangell–St. Elias National Park and Preserve. A flyby of Kennicott and McCarthy before we land helps orient us to the area we are about to explore. We visit Kennicott Mine, an abandoned copper mining camp established in 1903. Kennecott Mining Corporation operated 5 mines in the area. Kennecott became a bustling mining camp filled with miners and their families. Here we view the giant red mill building from the old Kennecott Copper Company, which stands 14 stories above the Kennicott Glacier. After our flight back to Chitna, we take a tour of the Fish Wheel on the Cooper River. This is a well-known area where Alaskan natives get their winter supply of salmon. Dinner is at Gilpatricks in Chitna before we head north for the night near Copper Center. (B, L, D)
Day 5: This morning we head up the Richardson Highway to Fairbanks, making stops along the Pipeline. Lunch is served at Gakona Lodge. This afternoon we stop at North Pole, Alaska, and the Santa Claus House. Upon arrival in Fairbanks, we enjoy an included dinner at the Pump House. (B, L, D)
Day 6: Today is a free day on your own. We get many requests to experience “North of the Arctic Circle” since it is only about 150 miles from Fairbanks. You may choose to fly to Fort Yukon, a historic fort, or Utqiaqvik (Barrow), the northernmost point in the United States. Maybe you would like a driving tour to the Arctic Circle or a drive/fly to the Arctic Circle. Fly to Anaktuvuk Pass, a remote Eskimo Village or Manley Hot Springs. There are attractions right in Fairbanks, including golfing or fishing. Or it may feel good to simply relax at the lodge for part of the day. We will help you make arrangements for your free day. (B)
Day 7: This morning we board the Riverboat Discovery for a trip that will introduce us to a family who has made the rivers of Alaska a way of life for five generations. No stop in Alaska is complete without talking about the Iditarod. We visit Susan Butcher’s home, Trail Breaker Kennels, for a hands-on dogsledding and Iditarod demonstration. Lunch is included. Leaving Fairbanks this afternoon, we are in store for an incredibly scenic drive as we head south on Highway 3. By late afternoon we arrive outside the Denali Park entrance for our 2-night stay. Upon arrival, we can explore the area outside the park. (B, L)
Day 8: This morning we board the Park bus for a narrated tour deep into Denali Park. We visit Kantishna, the farthest point into the park guests are allowed to travel. An experienced driver/guide shares the natural and cultural history of Denali. We enjoy views of the Alaska Range while hearing stories of the historic climbs of Denali. If weather permits, we may enjoy a sighting of “The Mountain” and possibly wildlife. Bring your cameras and binoculars for this view of Denali! (B, L)
Day 9: This morning enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the hotel before boarding the Alaska Railroad Goldstar for a scenic train ride to Talkeetna. We travel along the Nenana River and Denali Park for the first part of the journey before going over Broad Pass. We cross Hurricane Gulch at 296 feet above the creek. The bridge was built in 1921 and spans 914 feet, the longest on the railroad. As we enter Talkeetna, we cross the Talkeetna River near the confluence of the Talkeetna, Susitna, and Chulitna Rivers. Talkeetna is home for the next 2 nights. (B, L)
Day 10: This morning breakfast is at the world-famous Talkeetna Roadhouse before embarking on Mahay’s Jet Boat. On the boat, we experience a 130 mile round trip river excursion through Denali State Park and into the nationally registered Wild River Park of “Devil’s Gorge.” Along the way we stop and see how the early settlers of the area lived. There is also a visit to an authentic trapper’s cabin with its original furnishings to see how trappers lived in "Bush" Alaska at the turn of the century. Dinner is in Talkeetna this evening. (B, L, D)
Day 11: This morning we leave Talkeetna and continue south, stopping at a Musk Ox Farm in the Matanuska Valley. After a lunch stop in Anchorage, we continue to Seward with a few stops along the way. You have some free time in Seward this evening. (B)
Day 12: Today we cruise the Kenai Fjords National Park on our wildlife and glacier tour. We travel to towering walls of ice where you can hear the glaciers move as well as see the brilliant blues in the ice. The most commonly seen sea life includes otter, sea lions, seals, eagles, and possibly whales. Lunch is served on board the vessel with dinner on Fox Island, an isolated corner of Kenai Fjords. You can walk its pebbled beach, skip rocks, or relax on the deck overlooking the inland lagoon. We return to Seward for the night. (B, L, D)
Day 13: Today we have free time to continue exploring this beautiful state. We make our way back to Anchorage for a late evening flight. No seaplanes for us today as we go to the International Airport in Anchorage for our flight home. One more last glance at the majestic mountains, unusual glaciers, thunderous waterfalls, and shimmering sea, as we soar into the blue skies headed towards home. (B, D)
Day 14: With wonderful memories of our awesome vacation in ALASKA, we arrive in Wichita then transfer to Yoder.