My father and I have always wanted to experience the wild and unspoilt beauty of Alaska, where the diverse terrain offers endless opportunities for hiking, sightseeing and outdoor adventure. Few places in the world offer such an ‘away from it all’ experience as Alaska, the largest of the US states and also one of the most sparsely populated. Alaska is largely regarded as one of the true remaining wilderness areas on the planet.Vancouver and Seattle
After 11 hour flight from London, we arrived in the exciting Pacific coastal and cosmopolitan city of Vancouver, my favourite city. Highlights included Grouse Mountain where we took the Skyride to the summit and enjoyed the chance to observe animals such as eagles, wolves and grizzly bears in the nature reserve. We also went to Chinatown and Queen Elizabeth Park, home to the highest lookout point in the city. We then crossed Lions Gate Bridge to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, a 450-foot-long (137 metres) wooden walkway strung over the river. Walking on it was an amazing experience, and i felt like my life was hanging in the balance as it swayed.
From Vancouver, we took a bus journey to Seattle, “the Emerald City”, where we took in some city sights before taking a three-hours flight to Anchorage, Alaska.Anchorage, Alaska & McKinley
Anchorage is the largest city in the state of Alaska. We stayed overnight in this mountain-encased metropolis before we headed into the ‘great unknown’ of Alaska’s national parks and wilderness areas. Our trip continued to Mt McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge where we hiked and admired Mt. McKinley, watched the beautiful sunset and enjoyed the company of the locals... moose! With an average of 20 hours of daylight in the Alaskan summer months, we had plenty of time to take in all the wonderful wildlife and some of the most spectacular scenery we have ever seen.
Denali National Park
Wild wolves, red foxes, moose, caribou, wolverines and the much revered Black and Grizzly Bears all call Denali National Park home where it is simply bursting at the seams with gorgeous flora in the summer months.The Rocky Mountaineer train
We took a ten-hour panoramic train ride to our awaiting cruise ship in Whitter, a city on the Pacific coast. We enjoyed jaw-dropping views through the oversized picture windows as we coasted through the mountains. The train moved us through stunning untouched landscapes and some of the most breath-taking natural beauty on the planet. We boarded our seven-day cruise ship and sailed to Glacier Bay, Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan and Vancouver.“THE GLACIERS ARE MASSIVE AND MAJESTIC, BRIGHT WHITE, DEEP BLUE AND ICY COLD. THEY MUST BE SEEN TO BE BELIEVED” Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay National Park
The first glacier we saw was Hubbard Glacier located in eastern Alaska and part of Yukon, Canada. The following day we sailed to Glacier Bay National Park, which certainly lives up to its name with more than 50 named glaciers in the area. They’re massive and majestic, bright white deep blue and icy cold and oh so cool, and must be seen to be believed. We saw the glaciers crack, which sounded like thunder striking, and watched chunks as big as office blocks crashing down. When we saw some humpback whales, the captain turned off the ship’s engines so we could watch them in peace.Skagway, Alaska
A downtown walking tour brought the spirit of the Gold Rush to life. Skagway may be a quaint small town, but it offers a big lens into the Alaska frontier. We visited White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad (1898), a former railway station for the gold workers, now an exciting museum containing detailed account of Alaska's history.Juneau, Alaska
I knew Juneau would be pretty cool and seeing it on a crystal clear day with mountains for as far as the eye could see was incredible. We were simply blown away by the presence of rustic nature and landscapes. We took the Mt. Roberts Tram from the harbour to reach the top of this beautiful mountain and visited Nugget Falls near Mendelhall Glacier – one of the most popular routes in Juneau.
This area has a large population of Black Bears and it’s not uncommon to see one while hiking which we did. We made plenty of noise to warn them that we were in the area, surprising a bear is one of the worst things you can do.Ketchikan, Alaska
Our last stop was in rainy Ketchikan, squeezed onto a narrow strip of coast on Revillagigedo Island next to the Tongass Narrows, best known for commercial salmon fishing. There is no better place in the US to see totem poles in all their colourful glory.