In 2022, fresh off the Covid fun time, I got offered the amazing opportunity to come back to Alaska! I had been before, completing a wonderful Norwegian Cruise Line cruise from Vancouver to Seward/Anchorage in 2019. That was a wonderful trip but I had voiced to some great representatives from the city of Anchorage, and "Visit Anchorage" that I would love to come back to their city and see the best of what we have to offer. In 2022, I got the call. "Hey, we are putting together a trip, wanna come with us?". "Absolutely, sign me up!!" Calling my travel buddy, Ron and seeing if he was in, a day later we were on the roster and ready to go!
Our friends from Visit Anchorage had put together a great trip for our little group. Good people from all over the country converged that May to see the best the city had, and we were itching for some adventure. We didn't even know what all we were going to do before we got there, just a promise of "just wait!" But, we got to Anchorage, checking in at 11pm (the sun was still up a bit by the way, at 11pm at night) to the Marriott downtown, and would come to find out, yep, they took care of us.
Waking up the first morning, we all flooded downstairs at 630am. Too early, but the cool thing was, it got us to one of my favorite breakfast. A local pointed us to a great place called Snow City, and it was phenomenal. I am picky about breakfasts, and this was some of the best breakfast I have ever had. Great eggs, great bacon cooked just right, and some amazing sourdough toast. You get to Anchorage, give them a try.
I will go on with food, forever, so I have to move on. Snow City was great, but after breakfast we were taken on a lightening tour of a few things around the city in our hosts van. From the Ulu Factory knife works, to the fishing for Salmon in the river flowing right through the city, to the beautiful Anchorage Museum, to the Alaska Native Heritage Center, we saw it all, and it was an incredible morning. We even got the opportunity to do the trolley tour of the city, seeing the effects of a massive earthquake from 1964, to the schools and homes, to just checking out some local sites, it truly was a great morning. Then, the next coolest thing in the city, an electric bike tour! For 21 miles (easy miles as these bikes assisted our pedaling) we cruised along at about 20mph and really go to smell the smells, feel the air on our faces, and have some quick talks about all the city has to offer and its coast line. Amazing! Shoowee! Full day and it is only about 2pm on our first full day in the city! On the way to our biggest adventure of the day, we stopped at a great restaurant on the way to the Knik Glacier! None of us had any idea what we were about to do, but after a good quick meal we saw moose on the side of the road, great towns, and lots of mountains. It was all about to change though when we pulled into the Knik River Lodge and Cabins near the Knilk Glacier. OH MAN!!! What a view!!!!
Right away, we all noticed behind the lodge, was a row of several helicopters. Uh, what? The dropped us off without our stuff, rushed us downstairs in the lodge, and within minutes we were all standing outside our helicopters. Being a bigger guy, I got a "big bird", one of the new Alpha helicopters the lodge had just purchased. But they also had several others, Robinsons and Alphas all in a row!
In just a short bit, we were in the air!!! Flying over the lodge, seeing a camping area/yurt the lodge owns, flying next to the mountains looking for bear, flying over the river, and finally, over the top of the glacier it was a once in a lifetime experience. Just perfect!
Soon, our pilots were looking for places to land the helicopters on the glacier. EPIC!!! We all climbed out of our helicopters as the engines were turned off, and there we stood, on hundreds of thousands of year old ice. And me in my shorts!! Giving us each quick installing crampons (metal spikes) to go over our shoes, and little branded water bottles, we all set out to explore. One of the greatest experiences of my life, if you can afford to swing it, definitely do it! It is really an incredible experience. We walked around for about 30 minutes, we drank water from melted pools of ultra clean water on top of the glacier, we took photos, and we reveled in the idea of where we were all standing. ON A GLACIER. All of us in our group from our four helicopters all gathered for one amazing picture, and we all made the cover of the local travel magazine!
Yeah, I am the guy in shorts! LOL. (You have to know me). After that experience, and our great flights back, we all were given our own cabins at the lodge. Each of us had a full simple cabin, with a queen bed, a little kitchenette, and good warm bathroom. We dropped off our gear, and headed to an outside deck at the lodge for a wonderful dinner. Great wine, great steaks, great friends, you really can't get much better. I know I haven't had many events in my life that compare to that first day!
We wound down our night in a little circle of chairs at 11pm, with the sun still up. Some of us with wine in our hands, and a great view. Possibly the best view I have ever gone to sleep with outside my door. Alaska really can be called heaven! I will hit you with day 2 soon!