The Great Land: Alaska

(Last Updated On: July 17, 2020)

Alaska Itinerary

Day 1: Evening in Anchorage

Apparently Denali is visible from the other side of the plane as we come into Anchorage. Even though we can’t see it, I’m taking that as a good sign.

Day 2: Day trips around Anchorage

Morning at Potter Marsh

As much as I enjoy seeing birds, I’ll never be much of birder because it’s too hard for me to get up before dawn. Thus, we pretty much have Potter Marsh to ourselves when we arrive some time well after dawn.

Touring Along the Turnagain Arm

The Alaska Botanical Garden

Dinner with Aunt Jody

Growing up, the kids next door had an aunt who lived in Alaska. Periodically they would share a letter from her talking about her life in Alaska. We were all fascinated – Aunt Jody seemed to live in an incredibly exotic place.

Day 3: On the road to Denali

The Alaska State Fair

Watching for Denali

Having satisfied our need for a fair fix before the day’s drizzle turned to rain, we are back on the road in search of Denali.

The Milepost conveniently lists all the spots along the way where we can pull off and enjoy striking views of the oft-shrouded mountain, so we eagerly stop at a few.

Day 5: The 7:15 Bus to Wonder Lake

Day 6: Back on the road in Denali

Denali National Park, Take Two

The View from Eielson

What a Difference a Day Makes!

Yesterday at Denali’s Eielson Visitors Center:

Eielson view

Same spot, today (after the clouds started to sweep in around Denali):


And We’re Walking (Along the Road)

Day 7: Leaving Denali for the Kenai

A Perfect Denali Morning


Kenai Scenery

Rain or no, the Seward Highway provides plenty of wonderful scenery, with plenty of tumbling rivers, jagged peaks, and alpine meadows.


Seward Harbor View

At Ray’s Waterfront Restaurant we are seated at a corner table with huge windows that hardly separate us from the harbor.

The seafood is great, but that view. . . !

Day 8: Exploring Kenai Fjords (Monday, August 25, 2008)

Day 9: (Tuesday, August 26, 2008)

Almost Up-Close and Personal with Exit Glacier

Vibrant Wetlands Along the Sterling Highway

Russian Orthodox America: Old Kenai

Russian Orthodox America: Ninilchik

Cook Inlet from a Distance

View from the scenic overlook:

View from my deck:

The View from Homer Spit

On the beach in the evening.


Day 10: (Wednesday, August 27, 2008)

A Prettified Picture of Homer Past

Dining with Cranes

After a morning of museums and art galleries, I’m craving a relaxed lunch back at our house – but without having to cook, of course! Take-out pizza from Fat Olives seems to be the perfect answer and in no time at all we are sitting on the deck, basking in the sunshine, and watching a pair of sandhill cranes.

Views from Above

Skyline Dive offers some of the best views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers, including Grewingk Glacier directly across Kachemak Bay.

Homer Spit

Evening from Our Deck

Day 11: Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wilderness Along the Beach

We are too late for morning bird watching, but the road and trails behind the Alaska Islands & Oceans Visitor Center  offer a fascinating glimpse of the flora found in this area – along with a tiny peek into the lives of the people who have settled here.

Goodbye, Ninilchik

I was hoping the Russian Orthodox Church of the Holy Transfiguration of Our Lord might be open today.

Along the Road

Hope at the End of the Day

Day 12:   Friday, August 29, 2008



John McCain has chosen Alaska’s governor as his running mate.

We learn this from the woman who is checking us in for our cruise, who – although professing to dislike the governor – is nearly giddy with excitement.

Apparently this news is as unexpected by most Alaskans as it is to us. (Actually, I thought our Governor was supposed to be the nominee and I suspect he is having a very, very bad day.) I only know who the governor of Alaska is because the one newspaper I have read since arriving here had a story about a scandal involving her firing her ex-brother-in-law . . . a story that ran next to a piece on Senator Stevens’ troubles. Is the nation really ready for Alaskan-style politics?

On the other hand, she sounds a lot more interesting than McCain.

Around Prince William Sound

Surprise Glacier


Day 13:   Saturday, August 30, 2008

In the Air




Alaska Really is a Small Place


Day 14:   Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Stikine River

Petroglyph Beach

A Very Long Way from Home

I made the mistake of checking some internet news sites from home.

Day 15:   Monday, September 1, 2008

Finally We are on the Ferry




Day 16:  Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Another Day on the Ferry

Day 17:  Wednesday, September 3, 2008

To Gustavus via a Tiny Plane

We need to get from Juneau to the tiny town of Gustavus, which sits at the entrance to Glacier Bay.

During the summer there are a number of regular flights into Gustavus, as well as limited ferry service. However, now that the peak season has come to an end, Air Excursions was our only reasonable option for traveling between the two cities.

The Great Sea

Lane has always wanted to visit Glacier Bay as part of this trip, but it isn’t a particularly easy place to get to and only a few cruise ships are granted permits.

Reid Glacier

Day 17:

Morning Fog

We anchored last night in Reid Inlet’s quiet cove. It was a lovely spot, with the glacier in the distance and just one other boat nearby, but today we have awaken to a landscape transformed by fog – a wispy gauze shrouding our world, creating a silent, shifting, ethereal landscape. . . the physical world as mirage.It is otherworldly and utterly beautiful.

Reid Glacier is also nearby, but, heavily draped with fog, it is silent and invisible.

We set off through a magical world.

Glacier Gazing – Lamplugh

Glacier Gazing – Johns Hopkins

Glacier Gazing – Margerie and Grand Pacific

Shore Leave

Day 18:   Friday, September 5, 2008

Glacier Bay

Day 19:   Saturday, September 6, 2008

Winging Through the Mountains


Alaska Critter Log

The Details

  • Around Anchorage
  • Denali
  • The Kenai
  • The Inside Passage and Glacier Bay
  • Juneau

glacier meeting the sea with text "Alaska"

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