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Michael E. Leahy
Oak Lawn, IL
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Small Group Tour Highlights
  • Scenic Denali NP tour and hike
  • Visit to an Iditarod sled dog kennel
  • Remote Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
  • Copper mining town of Kennicott
  • Root Glacier hike
  • Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center tour
  • Kenai Fjords NP cruise
  • Anchorage city tour
  • Cultural demonstrations at Alaska Native Heritage Center
  • Stays at distinctive lodges
Day-by-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Depart for Anchorage, Alaska We depart today for Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city. Upon arrival, we check in to our centrally located hotel then have time to explore on our own. As guests’ arrival times may vary, we have no group activities or meals planned.

Day 2: Anchorage/Denali National Park This morning we meet our Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director and fellow travelers at a welcome briefing about the journey ahead. Then we depart by motorcoach for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska’s – and America’s – true Last Frontier. We first travel to Talkeetna, where we board a deluxe domed railcar that provides us with panoramic views of the passing landscape on the four-hour journey. Upon arrival in Denali late this afternoon, we enjoy a special interpretive presentation, “Welcome to the SubArctic,” introducing us to the park. B,D

Day 3: Denali National Park It’s a day of extreme beauty as we encounter Denali National Park up close. This six-million-acre preserve, larger than the state of Massachusetts, comprises forests, alpine tundra, sub-arctic taiga, and snow-covered mountains. We begin our full day of touring as we board a Denali bus for the drive along the lone road deep into the park. We stop at the Eielson Visitor Center, where, weather permitting, we may see one of the most dramatic views of grand Denali (formerly Mt. McKinley), North America’s tallest peak standing at more than 20,000 feet. Throughout our journey, a local naturalist and our driver-guide will share stories about the park and the historic characters who found their way to this remote wilderness. After stopping for a box lunch, we set out on an easy hike through the park’s tundra, where we keep our eyes peeled for grizzly bear, moose, caribou, and the iconic Dall sheep known for their white coat and massive curled horns. B,L

Day 4: Denali National Park Today we enjoy an authentic Alaska experience as we visit a local Iditarod sled dog kennel. Covering 1,000 miles of some of the roughest terrain in the world, the grueling Iditarod, “The Last Great Race on Earth,” draws nearly 100 competitive mushers and their dog teams annually. At the kennel, we learn about the history of the race and meet the kennel’s Husky puppies, who will soon start their training to become working sled dogs. We return to the lodge for lunch followed by an afternoon at leisure; perhaps to do some hiking or take an optional rafting excursion. This evening we reconvene for dinner and a lively show at the Denali Dinner Theater housed in an authentic log cabin. B,D

Day 5: Denali National Park/Wrangell-St. Elias National Park We depart Denali by motorcoach this morning for the day-long journey to remote Chitina (pop. 126!). Here we board a prop plane for the scenic flight deep into Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, at 8.3 million acres the largest national park in the United States. Our destination: the historic copper mining towns of Kennicott/McCarthy, sitting deep within the park. During our 30-minute flight, we get our first views of the park’s rugged wilderness, including 5,000 square miles of pristine glaciers, volcanoes, and mountain after mountain. Upon landing, we transfer to our lodge in the heart of Wrangell-St. Elias, overlooking 25 miles of glacier and surrounded by 14 of the highest mountain peaks in North America. We dine tonight at our lodge, the only one in Kennicott. B,L,D

Day 6: Wrangell-St. Elias National Park Home to more than 150 glaciers, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park contains the largest collection of these ice masses in North America. We see one of these glaciers up close today on our singular half-day hike to Root Glacier. After being fitted with crampons – steel shoe spikes created to traverse ice – we begin our two-mile excursion to the glacier and behold the natural beauty before us: unspoiled icefields, blue pools, cascading waterfalls, deep canyons, narrow crevasses. We eat a sack lunch in the wild then return to our lodge for an afternoon at leisure. Tonight, we enjoy dinner together at our lodge. B,L,D

Day 7: Wrangell-St. Elias National Park/Knik Valley This morning, we explore Kennicott, a National Historic Landmark District. Established in 1903, Kennicott was once a bustling mining camp, that became a ghost town after the ore was depleted in 1938. The town is now considered one of the best remaining examples of 20th-century copper mining. We see this firsthand on our tour of the 14-story concentration mill and other historic mining buildings. This afternoon we board a prop plane for the return flight to Chitina, where we then board a motorcoach for the four-hour drive to our European-style lodge in pristine wilderness just an hour from Anchorage. We dine together tonight at our lodge. B,L,D

Day 8: Knik Valley/Anchorage/Seward Late this morning we journey by coach to the coastal town of Seward. En route, we stop for a city tour of Anchorage, beginning at Lake Hood, the largest and busiest seaplane base in the world with more than 190 float planes taking off and landing daily. We also explore the city’s historic downtown, including Old City Hall; the Wendler Building, a popular women’s-only bar from the 1940s and ’50s; and 4th Avenue Market Place filled with local artisan shops. After time for lunch on our own in this city known for its fresh local salmon, halibut, and snow crab, we continue on to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing quality animal care and preserving Alaska’s wildlife. With 200 acres of spacious enclosures, the center offers an opportunity to see injured or orphaned bears, moose, elk, lynx, caribou, and more display their natural behavior in a safe environment. We then continue on to Seward and our hotel nestled in the Exit Glacier Valley. B,D

Day 9: Seward One of Alaska’s most scenic communities, Seward features a bustling harbor, inviting shops, and plenty of outdoor activities. The city also serves as the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park, a 600,000-acre preserve comprising rocky peninsulas, long fjords, primeval glaciers, and tranquil bays and coves. We explore this rugged park today on a glacier and wildlife cruise. On board, we get up close to one of Kenai’s many glaciers and keep an eye out for some of the park’s diverse array of mammals and marine life, including bears, mountain goats, moose, otters, porpoises, sea lions, harbor seals, and whales. We enjoy lunch onboard before returning to Seward, where the remainder of the day is free for independent exploration and dinner on our own. B,L

Day 10: Seward/Anchorage Today we return to Anchorage, where we visit the Alaska Native Heritage Center representing 11 of Alaska’s major native cultural groups. Here we enjoy a tour of the center and watch a dynamic Native Games demonstration. Then we have lunch on our own and the afternoon at leisure to explore the city as we wish. Tonight, we celebrate our journey through Alaska at a farewell dinner. B,D

Day 11: Depart Anchorage We transfer this morning to the Anchorage airport for our flights home. B

Please note: This trip involves considerable walking on uneven terrain and in a natural environment. You should be in good physical condition to enjoy the tour to the fullest.

B = Breakfast included L = Lunch included D = Dinner included

Tour Price Includes
  • Round-trip air transportation from listed cities; all flights within itinerary
  • 10 nights’ accommodations in First Class hotels
  • 22 meals: 10 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 7 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees
  • Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers
  • $100 frequent traveler credit towards your next Odysseys Unlimited tour ($200 after 3 tours; $300 after 10 tours)
Tour Dates & Prices

2019 Tour Dates & Prices
including airfare and all taxes, surcharges, and fees

May 21
Sep 3*
May 28
Aug 27
Jun 11
Jun 14
Jun 21
Jun 25
Jul 4, 11
Jul 19
Jul 26
Aug 2, 9
Seattle$5,787$5,987$6,187$6,287
Chicago, Los Ang,
Phoenix, Port (OR),
San Francisco
$6,087$6,287$6,487$6,587
Balt, Denver, Hou,
Miami, Minneapolis
$6,287$6,487$6,687$6,787
Atlanta, Charlotte,
Cincinnati, Dallas,
Tampa, Wash, DC
$6,387$6,587$6,787$6,887
Boston, Cleveland,
Detroit, New York,
Orlando, Phil
$6,587$6,787$6,987$7,087

Please call if your city is not listed or for land only prices. Prices are per person based on double occupancy and include airline taxes, surcharges, and fees of $92, which are subject to change until final payment has been made.

Single travelers please add $1,695. Your $375 deposit is fully refundable up to 95 days before departure. All 2019 tour prices above (excluding airline taxes, surcharges, and fees) are guaranteed.

*Days 2-3: Wrangell-St. Elias National Park; Days 4-6: Denali National Park

Depending on flight schedules, certain cities may require an overnight flight on the return, with the arrival home the following day.

Accommodations
    Anchorage Marriott Downtown, Anchorage / Day 1, 10 / First Class

    Centrally located in downtown Anchorage, this hotel sits just steps from local shopping and dining, the Anchorage Museum, and the Performing Arts Center; and offers views of downtown, Chugach Mountain Range, and Cook Inlet.  Hotel amenities include a restaurant, bar, café, fitness center, indoor pool, laundry and dry cleaning services, and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access.  Each air-conditioned guest room features a private bath with hair dryer, TV, coffee maker, and phone.

    Denali Park Village Lodge, Denali National Park / Days 2-4 / First Class

    The Denali Park Village Lodge is nestled into a bend on the banks of the Nenana River, just seven miles south of the entrance to Denali National Park & Preserve.  The wood-and-stone lodge is spread across 20 acres and offers light hiking and interpretive trails throughout the property, lobby with fireplace and outdoor seating area overlooking the wilderness, a restaurant, bar and lounge, gift shop, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, and complimentary area shuttle.  Each of the 188 air-conditioned guest rooms feature a private bath with hair dryer, TV, and phone.  Please note: out of the seven two-story buildings, only one has an elevator.

    Kennicott Glacier Lodge, Kennicott (Wrangell-St. Elias National Park) / Days 5-6 / Not rated

    This family-owned lodge offers guests breathtaking Alaskan scenery with views of the Kennicott Glacier, Mount Blackburn, and the Chugach Mountains.  A replica of one of the historic copper-mining buildings and the only lodge in America’s largest national park, Kennicott Glacier Lodge sits in the heart of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and features a 190-foot-long front porch with panoramic views of the mountains, as well as a restaurant, reading/family room, TV/gathering room, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, and plenty of outdoor activities.  Each of the spacious guest rooms features a private bath.  Please note:  Due to the rustic nature of this hotel, there is no elevator, guest rooms do not have phones or TVs, and hair dryers are available at the front desk.  However, there are electrical outlets to charge your devices.

    Knik River Lodge, Knik Valley / Day 7 / First Class

    Surrounded by the Chugach Mountains, this European-style lodge boasts incredible views of the Knik River valley, which serves as a habitat for moose, Dall sheep, wolves, lynx, bears, and more.  The lodge has two restaurants and offers complimentary Wi-Fi internet access.  Each of the 22 guest cabins has a private bath with hair dryer, private deck, TV, kitchenette with mini-fridge, microwave, and tea- and coffee-making facilities.

    Seward Windsong Lodge, Seward / Days 8-9 / First Class

    The Seward Windsong Lodge sits along the Resurrection River, just a short drive from downtown Seward along the Resurrection River.  From the back porch, guests are afforded a peaceful escape with views of the surrounding glacial river, mountains, and forests.  Lodge amenities include a restaurant, bar, espresso bar, and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access.  The hotel also provides shuttles to nearby Exit Glacier for guests interested in taking a walking tour.  Each guest room has a private bath with hair dryer, coffee maker, minibar, TV, and phone.  Note that there is no elevator.

Ratings are based on the Hotel & Travel Index, the travel industry standard reference.
Tour Directors for this Journey
Andy

“Andy, our Tour Director, did a fantastic job. He took care of every detail of the trip. His passion for Alaska and his pride in doing a good job for us were very evident. We couldn’t have asked for a better person to lead our tour.”
Robin & Jeannene Hubbard
Grove, OK

Cheri

“Cheri is an awesome tour director. She made the trip above and beyond expectations. Her knowledge and enthusiasm for her state was quite obvious and enhanced our whole Alaska experience!! Thank you Cheri!!”
Jeanne Scurlock
Henderson, NV

Julie

“Julie was always ready to go the extra mile to make sure we had the best experience possible.”
Shirley Wetherell
Forest Grove, OR

Keri-Lyn

Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director

Destination Insight

Suggested Reading

John McPhee
Coming into the Country
A superb introduction to the state, McPhee’s lyrical portrait blends history, issues and interesting facts with sketches of frontier life and unforgettable Alaskan characters.

Les Beletsky, Dennis Paulson
Alaska, Travellers’ Wildlife Guides
A guide to the most commonly encountered birds, mammals, fish, amphibians and marine invertebrates of Alaska featuring 320 handsome color illustrations and descriptive information on each species.

Kate Wynne
Marine Mammals of Alaska
Designed for use in the field, this indispensable guide features large color photographs, key information and detail-ed range maps for all the whales, seals and other marine creatures found near the shores of Alaska and Russia. Third edition.

Insight Guides
Insight Guide Alaska
With hundreds of photos and maps, this guide features concise essays by well-regarded authors on nature, history, peoples and culture.

Ocean Explorer Maps
Alaska Explorer Map
An informative, well-illustrated map of Alaska and Russia’s Chukotka Peninsula at a scale of 1:3,800,000, geared to cruise and expedition travelers in the region.

Jonathan Waterman
In the Shadow of Denali
A mountaineering classic, Waterman’s exhilarating account of doomed expeditions, solo ascents, the great Brad Washburn and many others documents the extraordinary power of North America’s highest mountain.

John Muir
Travels in Alaska
The centerpiece of this beloved classic is Muir’s wide-eyed account of the discovery of Glacier Bay.

Edward Hoagland
Alaskan Travels, Far-Flung Tales of Love and Adventure
From the Arctic Ocean to the Kenai Peninsula, backstreet bars of Anchorage and a 500-mile adventure on the Yukon, Edward Hoagland traveled the “real” Alaska on a grand journey some 30 years ago.

Dana Stabenow
A Deeper Sleep, A Kate Shugak Novel
A shocking tale about a man who gets away with murder– or does he? Anchorage P.I. Kate Shugak is on the trail of an acquitted murderer who she believes to be guilty in this thrilling mystery.

James Michener
Alaska
Michener tackles the 49th state in this rousing epic tale of men and wildlife on the frontier.

Bill Sherwonit
Denali: A Literary Anthology
A wonderful collection of 23 stories on the Denali Park area organized thematically: native history, early explorations, mountaineering, natural history and modern adventure.

Nancy Lord
Rock, Water, Wild: An Alaskan Life
A former Alaska Writer Laureate, Lord muses on the wildlife and landscapes, the cultures and communities that make up the vast northern state in this atmospheric paean to her adopted homeland.

Alan Ryan
The Reader’s Companion to Alaska
A volume of 28 eyewitness reports on the Alaskan wilderness over the last 100 years, including pieces by John Muir, Barry Lopez and Jon Krakauer. The long excerpts are presented geographically with separate sections on the Inside Passage, Anchorage, Fairbanks and Denali.

Carl Battreall
Alaska Range, Exploring the Last Great Wild
Setting a rich context for the mountainous wilderness of Alaska, this collection of photographs and essays contains work by Alaskan writers and adventurers who touch upon geology, exploration, botany and history.

Kim Heacox
Rhythm of the Wild, A Life Inspired by Alaska’s Denali National Park
Part memoir, part impassioned call for more conservation efforts, this companion to Heacox’s The Only Kayak explores his inspired connection with Denali National Park.

Carl Johnson (Photographer)
Where Water Is Gold
In this coffee-table compendium, Johnson’s photographs bring to light the struggle between developers and ecologists in southwest Alaska’s Bristol Bay.

James Kavanaugh
Alaska Birds
A handy, 12-panel fold-up card illustrating the most commonly encountered birds of Alaska.

Pocket Naturalist
Alaska Wildlife
This laminated card features color drawings and short descriptions of commonly encountered birds, mammals and reptiles of Alaska.

James Kavanagh
The Nature of Alaska
This clearly presented field guide to mammals, birds, seashore life, fish, trees, shrubs and wildflowers features 300 color illustrations

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