Alaska Trip - Part 1 (Flight-seeing Tour)

Flying to Alaska from the Eastern time zone is a big change. With never-ending daylight and a 4-hour time difference, we decided a day of acclimation was a good idea before heading off on our grand adventure. Our friends had pre-arranged a Denali Flightseeing Tour to Mt. McKinley.

Mel and I were a little apprehensive about flying in a little plane. Chad, who was a pilot in a previous life, assured us it was safe. We also figured if the pilot had a problem, Chad could take over and get us back on solid ground. With that we set out from Anchorage in a 6-man seaplane. Fortunately our pilot did great, although the turbulent air on the return leg did make at least one cabin member a bit nauseous.

Taking off and landing on water is a thrill. Basically it turns Alaska into thousands of ready-made runways. The first leg of the trip was relatively flat and we spotted a couple of moose from the air over the flatlands leading up to Denali National Park. When you get to Denali, you'll know it. The foothills rapidly become mountains not unlike those seen in the movies. Mt. McKinley cannot be understated. It towers above everything else. Glaciers are miles long, crags are massive. The scale is hard to describe.

On the return trip, we landed on a remote lake with great views of the surrounding area. My favorite photos of this were taken on an iPhone and posted to Instagram. [Photo 1] [Photo 2]

Several locals recommended Simon & Seaforts Saloon as the "best" place for fish and we concur. We finished the day with a great dinner of locally caught wild salmon and watched the seaplanes take-off and land. I became worried that it couldn't possibly get any better than this. It did.

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What others are saying...

I heard there's not a single fly in Alaska ... ... they're all married with kids. Sounds like you had an extreme vacation. Love the pics, thanks for sharing. I'm hoping you at least got to try Alaskan halibut while you were among civilization. I'd go back just for that ... and to try glacier claiming.

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