My husband, Alex, and I love the outdoors, and I especially love trying to capture the beauty of nature through photography. We thought what better trip to take than go to Alaska?! One of the world’s most beautiful places! Luckily, we were able to score some great flights to Alaska during one of JetBlue’s flash sales ($68 dollars one way!!). As you could imagine, our inexpensive flights made the decision to travel to Alaska that much easier. We only had 2 weeks to plan for our 5 day stay, but we knew that no matter what we ended up doing in Alaska that we would still enjoy every bit of it!
For our first day in Alaska, we decided to take a day trip from Anchorage to Matanuska Glacier. Along the way, we quickly discovered how much beauty Alaska has to offer. I can’t count the number of times we pulled off to the side of the road to take countless photos. Eventually we decided to just soak in the scenic drive from inside the car…mostly because we actually wanted to make it to our destination. 😉
Matanuska Glacier – The largest glacier accessible by car in the US. You can choose to do a guided tour that takes you much deeper into the glacier, or if you prefer the self-guided route then simply use caution. There are small flags directing the path to follow when you first start but eventually you’ll come to a sign that prohibits self-guided individuals from continuing forward. We decided to trek a little ways further despite not having a tour guide, but we did make sure to use caution and stopped once the glacier became too slippery. I would highly recommend this day trip to Matanuska Glacier. Being able to experience the sounds of glacier cracking was simply amazing. Also having almost the entire glacier to ourselves was definitely icing to this experience.
We discussed very early on in our planning (which really means 10-14 days out from our departure date) that we absolutely wanted to experience the beauty of glaciers while in Alaska as much as possible. After some research, we decided to book a 26 Glacier Cruise with Phillips Cruises and Tours. Boy, did we love this experience! Not only did we get to see so many glaciers and learn the history about them, we were lucky enough to witness some of them calving!
These two glaciers used to touch in the past, but now a mile’s distance separates them.
We were also able to spot some wildlife along the way!
For our next day’s adventure, we decided to book a kayaking tour with Miller’s Landing in Seward. We started our morning off by kayaking 5 miles in Resurrection Bay making our way towards Caines Head. Once we reached our destination, we packed up our gear and started on our 2 mile hike up to Fort McGilvray. Throughout our hike, we got to see many historical remains of this World War II defensive structure. This was such an amazing place to explore! We stopped quite often to enter some of the empty barracks, which did feel a little spooky at times! Finally, once we reached the top we were greeted with some amazing views!
Did I mention the rare beautiful day we had? Or the insanely calm waters? Amazing!
The inside of a lookout. Not a bad view if you ask me!
For our next day, we had originally planned to hike all the way up to Harding Ice Field. This particular hike is 8.2 miles roundtrip with approximately 4,000 feet of elevation gain. We made sure to keep up-to-date on the trail conditions leading up to this day because we had heard that most of the trail was still snowed in. Determined to still experience this hike, we agreed that we would try to go as far as the trail would allow us to. You can see from my first photo down below that the terrain changed very quickly. Nevertheless, we were excited to trek up. Surprisingly we made it pretty far up (with about 3/4 miles left), but we decided to stop once we could no longer make out a trail and more importantly once we saw a bear cub! Where there’s a cub, there’s a very protective momma bear nearby! Thankfully we didn’t have to encounter this momma bear.😉 We took tons of photos at the top and just soaked in the view. This was our first time hiking in snow, and let me just say: I cannot wait until our next snow trek opportunity!
Our last day we decided to spontaneously take the long drive up to Denali National Park. We had hoped to spot some wildlife, and although we didn’t get to see a lot, we were blessed enough to see a grizzly! From afar of course! 😉 Overall we enjoyed the park and took advantage of the perfect weather this day.
As you can probably tell by now, we had such a great time in Alaska. The beauty alone blew us away. I am convinced that no photo taken here can do it any wrong, and at the same time no photo can do Alaska justice. You just have to experience it for yourself.
We cannot wait until our next adventure in Alaska!