Our 9th Anniversary Trip to Alaska

Alaska is one of our favorite destinations in the US. It seduces us with its massive glaciers, millions of trees, pristine landscapes, abundant wildlife and much needed peace and calm. We absolutely loved our trip to Alaska in 2012 and climbing Matanuska Glacier was one of the coolest things we did back then. We always wanted to go back and when we heard about a 3-day sea kayaking trip in the Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska amidst glaciers, beaches, wildlife and waterfalls from one of our friends last year, we knew we had to do it. Thus began the planning for our 9th anniversary trip to Alaska which began with 3 days in the Denali National Park area, followed by 3 days of sea kayaking adventure in the Aialik Bay of Kenai Fjords National Park, continued with a 7-night relaxing and fun cruise from Whittier to Vancouver and ended with spending a day in Whistler, Canada and another in Vancouver downtown. What a trip it was!

Our trip began with renting a car in Anchorage and driving to the cute downtown of Talkeetna to celebrate my husband's birthday. It was a small but lovely downtown and totally worth the stop on the way to Denali National Park.

We had lunch at Wildflower Cafe and totally recommend it for the food and the ambiance.

This coffee shop had the best gluten-free brownies which are sourced from a local bakery.

We reached our cabin in the evening which had an outdoor compost toilet and a tiny tent outside with no place to hang clothes as a makeup shower, which was quite an experience in 40F weather. But I booked it for this view from the balcony, can you blame me?

We spent the next 2 days in Denali National Park, saw an abundance of wildlife and been on some of the most scenic trails. While planning the trip, I debated quite a bit if I should include this in the itinerary but after 2 days in this paradise, I made a sincere wish to come back again. You can read all about it in the blog post here.

On Day 4, we headed back to Anchorage to catch an afternoon bus to Seward to begin our sea kayaking trip early morning the next day. Unfortunately, a portion of the highway between Denali and Anchorage near Talkeetna was blocked on that day due to wildfires. To control the situation, they were only allowing 50 cars once every 2 hours. Without realizing this, we took a detour to get some brownies from Talkeetna and missed our slot and had to wait for 2 hours upon return. We almost missed our bus to Seward, which would have meant missing the sea kayaking trip around which the whole Alaska trip was planned. Luckily, we called Alaska Tour & Travel ahead of time, they were aware of the wildfire situation and agreed to wait for us. We managed to reach just in time and they picked my husband up from the airport where he went to return the car. In the end, we made it with the brownies in hand :)

Local bakery in Talkeetna where we went to get the best gluten-free brownies
We reached Seward on time and stayed at this cute cabin (called Abode Well Cabins) for the night from where our guide picked us the next morning around 5 am.

We spent the next 3 days kayaking on the sea during the day amidst glaciers, bears, icebergs, seals and otters and setting up tents on rocky and sandy beaches for the night. It is one of those 'once-in-a-lifetime-experiences' for us, made even more special by our wonderful and inspiring guide Josh Thomas. There couldn't have been a better way to celebrate our wedding anniversary than being in a tandem kayak on the sea for 3 days :). You can read all about it in my blog post here

On Day 8, we took a bus from Seward to Whittier to board our 7-night Princess Cruise,  that goes all the way to Vancouver cruising along the Inside Passage. We had a blast both inside and outside the cruise ship. We went to Glacier Bay National Park which was so awe-inspiring that I highly recommend choosing a cruise that goes here. We loved exploring the British Columbia and Yukon areas near Skagway, hiking next to the Mendenhall glacier in Juneau and in the rain forests of Ketchikan during the day. And at night, we thoroughly enjoyed the shows, performances, formal dinners and yummy desserts. It was a great way to wind down and you can read all about it my blog post here

On Day 15, our cruise ship arrived in Vancouver where we were met by my cousin's family and headed to Whistler, a popular ski resort which is a couple of hours away. It is a very scenic place made even more exciting with the gondola rides between the huge mountains. We especially loved the open chair lift to "Cloudraker Sky bridge", a suspension bridge that swayed as we walked and was an exhilarating experience which felt similar to walking in the clouds. Here's a detailed blog post on our day in Whistler.

The next day our cousins drove us around Vancouver downtown and Stanley Park area after a delicious brunch at 'Saravana Bhavan'. Our trip finally came to an end when we bid them farewell the next morning.

The trip couldn't have been better. It was a great mix of adventure and relaxation and what we would call a perfect holiday. How does your perfect holiday look like?


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