This invigorating and unforgettable Alaskan tour cannot be matched for biodiversity and adventure. Clint is an excellent and experienced guide to Alaskan rivers and wildlife. The trip will be scheduled for the summer of 2002. Check in early with your group to line up the schedule you prefer. A sample itinerary follows.
Day One: We'll meet at an Anchorage bed-and-breakfast for an evening meal and group orientation.
Day Two: After breakfast we'll drive down the Kenai Peninsula to the coastal town of Seward. This small fishing town is the gateway to the Prince William Sound, an inland waterway incredibly rich with sea life. At noon we'll board a 120-foot cruiser to a small island for a grilled salmon lunch. We'll get some sea-kayaking instructions and head out into the sound. During our afternoon paddle, we might find sea lions, sea otters, seals, and whales. There is also amazing bird life: puffins, eagles, and frigate birds. We'll return to the island for our first camp dinner. If you've never experienced the extreme cushiness of a sea-kayak camp, you'll be amazed with our fully functional kitchen, top-of-the-line tents, sleeping bags, and pads. We have tables and chairs and even portable toilets to make your camping experience easy.
Day Three: We'll wake up in the misty Kenai Fjords, eat a relaxed breakfast, and then paddle out amid icebergs and seals to watch glaciers calve into the protected waters. The ice appears in the most astounding shapes and colors. It’s like being in a different world. There is an air of timeless power in this place. After our full-day touring, we'll be picked up by boat and whisked on back to the B&B in time for a well-deserved shower and a fine dinner.
Day Four: We’ll encourage the group to split up today, so people can decide how to spend their morning. Some may want to book an early salmon or halibut fishing trip, while others would be more interested in walking around this quaint little town full of shops and artists. The sea life center is also a fascinating place to visit. In the afternoon, we’ll shuttle up to Talkeetna. We'll be staying at a traditional Alaskan spot. The hearty fare will get us ready for the morning’s serious adventure.
Day Five: This is the first day of our Talkeetna River trip. There are many incredible river trips and many spectacular lands to travel, but this three-day trip down the Talkeetna Canyon is quite possibly one of the most impressive river voyages one could take in a lifetime. As the sound of the bush plane dies away, we are left standing on an utterly quiet gravel bar deep in the Alaskan wilderness. Looking around, one can see an array of boating gear lined up along the blue-green glacial river, the jagged Talkeetna Mountain Range, and usually a couple of startled but curious caribou. The river is braided up close to the glacier, but one can see it gathering strength as it rushes by. The guides have already set out lunch, and as the last bags are strapped on the boats, the finer points of water and wilderness safety are explained. And we're off!
As we are carried swiftly to camp, we see salmon, big and determined, so many bald eagles that we eventually stop pointing them out, bear (always worth a point and a nod), caribou, moose and lynx. We may also spot a wolf. We'll camp alongside one of the many clear streams in hopes of adding some surf to our turf dinner. We take great pride in our river meals right down to the Dutch oven desserts. Talking about tomorrow’s 12-mile "Sluice Box" of continuous Class III and IV rapids makes it even tastier.
Day Six: We’ll have a relaxed morning. After coffee and breakfast, we'll rig the boats. Our hearts will beat a little faster as we anticipate what lies ahead. We’ll eddy out at the head of a steep canyon. From here we can scout both "Entrance Exam" and “Toilet Bowl.” It’s a big Class IV, so the longer we look, the more respect it gets. There is a great rush when we realize we are still alive, followed by an enormous desire for a sandwich and some nibbles. It’s now or never because the next 12-mile section of the gorge is nearly continuous white water. This run is so sustained and challenging it naturally inspires teamwork and celebration. When we are finally spit out the other side, we will feel alive and accomplished, and hopefully not too tired to catch our limit of salmon. This night's camp is one of the best fishing camps in the state. "Disappointment Creek" is anything but. The hard part of fishing here is getting the fish onto shore. The "Grizzly Bear Scoop” works the best.
Day Seven: An easy morning and perhaps a little more fishing for those who want some lox for their bagels. Short hikes are also possible from here. There's no need for wet suits because the river braids out, big and docile, and is joined by the Sheep River and a little farther down by the mighty Susitna. On a sunny day, Mount McKinley is visible from the river. By now, you've got the pace of the river down. From here, it's just a slow float back to civilization. There's nothing as relaxing as watching the scenery slip by in this incredible silence. We'll pull up to shore in the town of Talkeetna. We’ll all be ready to clean up at our bed-and-breakfast and then join in the celebration feast in this little town known for its history of bush pilots, mining, and mountaineering.
Day Eight: We ride up to Denali National Park, where we'll meet some friends in the dog-mushing business. After a log cabin lunch and a demonstration of how mushing works, we'll head into Denali National Park for a four- to six-hour tour. This is where we get to see bears, moose, caribou, dall sheep, and countless other wild animals as they walk the slopes of the rolling tundra. Some of our best views of Mount McKinley and the Alaska Mountain Range are here. We’ll have dinner and return to our bed-and-breakfast.
Day Nine: Travelers have several options today. Some may be interested in a horseback trip, while others will want to test out the Nenana River’s high volume Class III and IV white water. Both trips are approximately four hours long. Flight-seeing tours by helicopter or bush plane will cost extra but are amazing experiences. We'll regroup in time for a final celebration dinner at the Perch Restaurant.
Day Ten: We'll shuttle back to Anchorage on the famous Caribou Cab, arriving in time for 2 p.m. departures.
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