My first post-retirement priority was to take a trip with my Mom and Dad. Most Alaska tourists apparently spend their time on cruise ships. I had raised this option with my Dad. Predictably, his response to the cruise ship idea included a good bit of profantity and the word “prison.” So we flew to Anchorage in mid-June, rented an SUV, and for two weeks traveled the majority of the relatively-few roads that exist in that section of Alaska.
Along the way, we chartered a small boat for a private glacier cruise, took a horseback ride in the Kenai peninsula, took a ‘flightseeing’ plane trip to McKinley (including a landing on the Glacier), and spent a day on those terrible old school buses that are the only way to actually go into Denali National Park.
If you get off the tourist-beaten path, you can really have the place to yourself. One day, for example, we drove into Wrangell-St. Elias National Park — the largest national park in U.S. at 13 million acres. There are only two roads in, so we picked one and drove 2 hours, which was as far as you could go in a vehicle. In that time, we saw maybe one or two other cars of sightseers. Meanwhile, most of the visitors to Alaska were sharing a boat with 2,000 other tourists, or at best sharing bus with 40. I think my Dad was right.