About two weeks before our Alaskan adventure, CJ and I began watching Alaskan Bush People, which is aired on the Discovery Channel, to prepare for our travels. The show documents the Brown family, who try to survive the Alaskan wilderness while being isolated from modern society. This may surprise some of you… but I can honestly say the show is not a reflection of what CJ and I experienced while in Alaska. In fact, it was the polar opposite, and I’m thankful for that because it meant we did not need to hunt for our own food every day. Leading up to our vacation, we watched hours and hours of our new obsession which made us increasingly excited to head North. The scenery displayed on the little box in our living room made us that much more anxious for our trip. Currently the show is in its 10th season, and you can bet we are still following along with the Brown family despite the fact that we are back home in Dallas.
Two things I’ve learned from watching said show:
1. I like living close enough to a hospital that if something happens I’m not hours away.
2. I prefer not needing to learn tips and tricks to ward off bears.
Three things I learned while actually in Alaska
1. Pictures don’t do it justice.
2. I do in fact have anxiety on small airplanes.
3. I like living close enough to a hospital that if something happens I’m not hours away…. Backstory: one morning I was bit by something – we think a spider – and it became ridiculously swollen. Of course, I then became increasingly worried about our growing distance from the nearest doctor (Good news… I didn’t need the doctor and am now fine).
Six things I would recommend to anyone planning a trip to Alaska:
1. Fly into Anchorage and take the train to Seward – it is INCREDIBLE. If able, splurge for the Gold Star Service – these cars have glass-dome ceilings, and the fare includes breakfast.
If you are wanting to take an Alaskan cruise there are many that depart from Seward. I definitely recommend enjoying a few days in town before your cruise leaves, if that’s the route you decide to take.
2. Go to the little town of Talkeetna, about 150 miles south of Denali National Park. The town is super cute, CJ and I definitely want to go back and stay longer next time.
There are loads of activities to choose from in town, including flights around Denali – which is what we did. So cool! But also kinda terrifying!
Make sure to stop in the Talkeetna Roadhouse for a “Razzy” – a raspberry cinnamon roll baked fresh daily. They also have other assortments of bakery items to choose from.
3. If your Alaskan travels take you to Denali National Park, make sure to hop on a bus to the end of the road to Kantishna (92.5 miles), an old gold mining town, and back. You’ll have a better chance of seeing wildlife if you do. Honestly, it was fairly exhausting being on a bus for that long while trying to spot animals, but it was well worth it.
Fair warning, your chances of actually seeing Denali are slim (Denali translates to “the high one”, and at just over 20,000 feet, this name is very fitting).
CJ and I were told only about 30% of visitors who enter Denali National Park ever even see the mountain. There are even stickers at the visitor center you can purchase that read “I’m part of the 30% club”.
Your best chance to see the mountain is on a clear morning. As we were headed out of the park we were lucky enough to have such a morning and saw Denali.
4. Eat a lot of Halibut.
5. If you are driving make a pit stop at Wal-Mikes, it is close to Talkeetna, AK.
This place is a hoarders paradise, and truly a one of a kind experience.
You won’t believe your eyes… if you are easily claustrophobic, stay outside.
114.8 Mile West Parks Hwy, Trapper Creek, AK 99683
6. Take a day to go on a Glacier & Wildlife cruise. Hearing and seeing glaciers calving is truly indescribable.
We used Major Marine Tours to book. CJ and I were able to buy our tickets the day prior to our excursion. The seas had been fairly choppy while we were in Seward and we wanted advice from the experts on the best day to go out…
…3 foot seas are much easier to handle than 8 foot seas.
CJ and I had the best time in Alaska with our family. We remained as unplugged from our devices as possible, which was not difficult to do given the surrounding beauty. Every moment we had we thoroughly enjoyed, and we still reminisce about our trip almost every day. We are so grateful to have been able to join in on the ol’ Alaskan Convoy. After being back home for several weeks in the Dallas heat we are definitely looking forward to the next trip we get to take to the 49th state.
Enjoy additional photos from our Alaskan Adventure 🙂