Day 1 May 24, 2013 – North to Alaska
Tonight we find ourselves staying at the Seattle Airport Marriott as we await our flight tomorrow afternoon to Sitka, Alaska on Alaskan Airlines. We will be spending another night here at this same hotel after our return flight from Anchorage. The last time I flew out of Seattle was October 1967 when I boarded a Seaboard World Airlines Charter Flight for a one year stint in Vietnam; hopefully this trip will be a lot more enjoyable. Our flight doesn’t leave until 3:00 pm so we plan to spend tomorrow morning at Seattle’s Pike Place Market watching them throw fish. Pike Place Market is one of the places in the book “A 1000 places to see before you Die” so of course we need to drop by and take some pictures. In Sitka we will board the National Geographic Expedition Ship “Sea Lion”. We will spend 8 days cruising the inside passage and taking zodiac rides and kayaking to get closer to the wildlife, disembarking at Juneau. We then fly to Fairbanks, spend two nights before spending five days at the 15 room North Face Lodge in Denali National Park. Travel to the lodge is a 90 mile, 7 hour trip on a winding dirt road to the "end of the road" - less than 1% of park visitors are able to go beyond the first 18 miles. While at the lodge we will be taking daily 2-3 hour morning and afternoon nature hikes, and hoping for great photo opportunities. We then spend a day on an Alaskan Railroad Domed Train traveling to Anchorage and spend the night prior to flying back to Seattle on June 8.
We normally don’t like to take trips this close together, having just returned from China, but Alaska has such a short season it is important to book early and go when the opportunity presents itself. After China we are really looking forward to breathing clean fresh air and knowing what we are eating.
As with our past trips we will be keeping a daily travelogue of our activities to help us organize our pictures and thoughts when we return home. Those of you who have seen the DVDs and books we put together after each trip understand the importance of the daily log. Our e-mails represent our thoughts and observations at the time and in some cases any resemblance between our blog and fact may be purely coincidental. As always, if our e-mails start to get too boring please use the delete button or e-mail us and we will take you off the list. Please feel free to e-mail us with questions or comments at any time. During this trip we plan to send almost daily e-mail travelogues of our adventures while on the ship because the ship has internet access. There is no internet capability at the North Face Lodge. If everything goes as planned the next e-mail should be from aboard the “Sea Lion”.
“Some experiences simply do not translate. You have to go to know”. Kobi Yamada
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Tom and Holly