A Trip Full of ‘Firsts’ to Alaska
At the beginning of September, Maria from Lotus UK accompanied five tour operators on a ‘trip full of firsts’ to Alaska. Here’s her report...
The trip began with an introduction to Alaska in the city of Fairbanks, located in the centre of the state, where we spent the day learning about Alaskan culture and the interior region with visits to the Morris Thompson Cultural & Visitor Center, the Museum of the North and a comedic play about the story of Fairbanks at the Palace Theatre in Pioneers Park. Our first ‘first’ came at the end of the day, when we all saw the impressive Aurora Borealis for the first time; it’s a truly breath-taking experience to see the sky with moving green and pink brushstrokes.
Our Fairbanks experience ended with a flight seeing tour to Coldfoot and Wiseman - two tiny towns with a population of about 15 people where we had the chance to meet the locals and learn their ways of surviving.
Next up was Denali National Park, the second largest and the most visited park in Alaska. Denali’s main attractions are the wildlife, Mt McKinley and its beautiful scenery. Here, we saw bears, Dall sheep, moose and bald eagle for the first time. As we drove South on the Denali Highway (one the most scenic ones in the state) to Byers Lake, we had our first sneak peak view of McKinley, the highest peak in North America. After a hike with Alaska Nature Guides around Byers Lake, we headed down to Talkeetna where we took a plane to land on Mt McKinley. The flight was definitely one of the highlights of the trip, as the views of the mountain were extraordinary.
Just as we thought our trip couldn’t throw us any more surprises, we ended up in a helicopter ride to land on Knik Glacier – yet another first to add to the list! Seeing the massive glacier calving into the sea, watching the deep crevasses and exploring the ice mass provided some unforgettable memories.
Our stay in the city of Anchorage was very much a cultural one, visiting the Anchorage museum and the Alaska Native Heritage Center - a great way to learn more about the history of Alaska and its different native tribes.
Kenai Fiords National Park was our last tour of the trip where we had the chance to view the active calving of Holgate Glacier as well as marine wildlife including Humpback whales, Dall’s porpoises and puffins.
Alaska is a place everyone should go to at least once, with breath-taking landscapes wherever you look, from the simple highways to glaciers, wildlife, northern lights, mountains, rivers, national parks...and the list goes on! A truly a magical place!
Maria was joined by:
Cheryl Cole from Canadian Affair
Karen Simmons from Thomas Cook Signature
Anisha Patel from Titan Travel
Tania Bosworth from Archers Direct/ Cosmos
Lisa Drake from Hays Travel Independence Group
A huge thank you to all the partners involved on this trip!
Images from left to right:
1. Abriendo Mentes, Costa Rica, Copyright KateHood.com
2. Nuevas Esperanzas, Nicaragua
3. Vidarte Space, Brazil