August 16 2010 by James West
When it comes to summer vacations, there aren't many that can beat a trip to the great state of Alaska. Sure its winters are cold enough to break records and it's really far away, but boy does it ever make for an amazing summer vacation!
Last summer my brother and I flew to Alaska for a week to visit our other brother who was living there. We had an adventure packed week with non-stop activities, dining, and picture taking (way too many to include here). The trip was one of a kind and I can't recommend it enough. Here are some of the things we did that I highly suggest you try when visiting "The Last Frontier" state.
We arrived in Anchorage to start our journey and arose early the next morning to start on our hike of Flat Top Mountain. We started with breakfast at Snow City Cafe and then got ready for the hike. It was a healthy hike, meaning it was difficult at certain parts and required a few breathers here and there, but not so strenuous that it was miserable. The entire hike was about 2 hours, but we spent some time at the top taking pictures and snacking. The view overlooking the city of Anchorage and parts of the ocean was awesome. The top was noticeably colder than the bottom but we had on our wind breakers, a definite necessity to bring on your Alaskan trip.
We ate that night at the Bear Tooth Grill where they have some delicious burgers and fresh fish. We got the jalapeno popper appetizer which caused a few tears to be shed (not by me of course) and lots of water consumed. Hot, but delicious. Their Raja Burger and mashed potatoes were mouth-wateringly delectable! This is a favorite hot spot of the locals so don't miss out on it.
Our next adventure was white water rafting down Sixmile River which we booked through Chugach Adventure Guides. This was by far my favorite part of our Alaskan adventure. We got suited up with full body dry suits and were instructed on the river details. Our guides were very knowledgeable and entertaining. We must have been awesome rafters because we never tipped over or got bounced out. I suppose it could have been luck, but we'll say it was skill. The river had multiple class 5 rapids, the highest class of rapids, and the adrenaline rush was insane! The rafting itself was very fun and intense, but there were also calm parts on the river where you could admire the Alaskan beauty. If you're not the adventurous type, I would stay away from white water rafting for sure, but I think everyone should experience the thrill. We hit up the Moose's Tooth, a famous pub and pizzeria, that night and it was well worth the 30 minute wait.
Our next adventure was driving out to Seward to hike Exit Glacier, and not just hike to the glacier but on the glacier. Again, we booked our trip through a tour guide service, Exit Glacier Guides, who i highly recommend. Our tour guide Cody was a season hopper who hooked us up with crampons, poles and helmets. We hiked up for about an hour then strapped on our gear and climbed the glacier. It was awesome! Despite being hot from the hike we put on our wind breakers and gloves because it got real cold on the ice. Like the rafting, having a tour guide definitely makes the trip. You learn so much more about the area and the glacier that we would have no idea of otherwise. So, get a tour guide.
The last activity took us out to Whittier where we went deep sea fishing in Prince William Sound. This area is famous for its beauty and fishing. Unfortunately, we didn't have much success in the fishing department, but it is usually one of the best places to catch great silver salmon. However, it was still fun with the scenic drive, tunnel road, sea lions and glaciers that we got to see during this trip.
Alaska was a one of a kind place to visit and one of the best places you could possibly go during the summer. Get some tour guides for your adventures as they add a tremendous amount of insight If your summer plans are already spent this year, start planning your vacation to Alaska for 2011.
What other great things have you done in Alaska?