Denali – ATVs, Huskies and a Moose

Bring on the Alaska posts! I’ve decided to divide them up into six parts and they’ll be coming out over the next two weeks. Overall, my whole experience was incredible and it was possibly one of the best trips I have ever taken. I had this preconception that Alaska would be constantly snowy and barren, but in the summer Alaska is a paradise. I went for the first week with two friends Justin and Brian, and then the last week on my own. I guess three things to note – 1) apparently we got lucky with the warm weather and it isn’t always like that in the summer, 2) I got whiplash from double taking every few steps to look at the stunning scenery and 3) there is a lot of fish on the menus so be prepared.

To kick it off, this post is all about Denali. Denali is one of the main national parks in the state and was our first stop. We drove up there from Anchorage and it took about five hours. During the summer, road construction is a huge thing so you will probably get stuck in it like we did. Once there we stayed in a cabin outside of the main hustle/bustle which I would definitely recommend. Tonglen Lake was so peaceful and away from all the tourists and shitty gift stores. It is smaller and not on the radar but somewhere to consider if you want a nice getaway.

I guess I have to start talking about Denali with the park. If you want to truly explore you’ll need to organise a bus tour or go on a very extravagant hike – after mile fifteen the road into the park isn’t accessible to non-commercial vehicles (and there’s a good eighty more miles of it). We went on the Horseshoe Lake Trail and that’s what you can see below. The starting point is right by the visitor centre and the whole walk took us around an hour. The route goes through wilderness and alongside the lake so it isn’t repetitive (I know sometimes once you’ve seen a tree you’ve seen a million trees). A highlight was getting up close to a moose. We managed to see her eating on the lower level but then also from up top in the water twice. On this hike you also get to see a beaver dam, pretty cool beach and some epic mountains that could be screensavers.

One of the funnest experiences in Denali we did was driving ATVs. I’ve done this two times before but it still gets my adrenaline up. We went with Denali ATV Adventures and did a private tour on a Grizzly and Viking. You sign a waiver/meet them in the town area and then they drive you out on their minibus. The excursion takes place outside the park but still amongst the country. We had two guides who were both really chatty and up for going fast and furious. It was about two and a half hours long with three different stops, including the top of a hill and by this massive sand dune. It’s a fun, different way to see Denali and also get a little dirty.

Next to the ATV pickup are a bunch of shops and food places. This is the ‘touristy’ area and we decided to break for lunch. I would recommend Salmon Bake as the food was pretty delicious and there is a big selection. The restaurant itself is pretty unique as the floor slopes and the decor makes for good selfies. You can see below the halibut tacos and elk burger – both of which really good but so much food wow.

You can’t go to Alaska and not cuddle up with a cute husky. We went to the Husky Homestead and met Jeff King and all his dogs. They pick you up in their shuttle bus and take you to their camp which is nice. The event is split into three sections – puppy play, husky life and iditarod info (I’ve named them these and think they’re pretty accurate hah). You first get to play with the puppies and everyone melts. Apparently this is beneficial to the puppies as they get used to new smells and being held/managed in different ways. There’s a great photo on my instagram here if you want to see just how happy I was holding a puppy. The next part you sit outside and get to watch a husky demo/find out about how they raise them. Each litter has a theme and is named after that e.g. rockstars, colours etc. I found this part really interesting – (I guess the best thing I found out is that these dogs are Alaskan huskies not Siberian huskies as I thought). The last part takes place indoors and Jeff talks about his iditarod experiences and what it takes. The iditarod race is something I would love to witness one day and might have to add to a bucket list for a later year! This experience is a little pricey but you do learn a lot about something that is truly unique to Alaska.

If I was to go back I would spend more time in the park and go deeper. There are meant to be some beautiful trails and viewpoints but I mean you have to leave something to come back for! It was a pretty action-packed time in Denali and the rest of the trip didn’t slow down either. Come back on Thursday to check out Anchorage part one!

Discussion

Taipei - Jiufen and Yehliu GeoPark

Taipei - 101

Yangshou - Li River

Day Out - Longji Rice Terraces

Guilin - Sun & Moon Pagodas

Shanghai - Bund and Temples

Xi'an - Terracotta Army

Day Out - Great Wall of China

Beijing - Temple of Heaven

Beijing - Tiananmen and Forbidden City

Helsinki - Seurasaari

Helsinki - Cathedral & Suomenlinna

Day Out - Lantern Festival London

Vatican City - Peter and the Pope

Day Out - Pompeii

Rome 2 - Colosseum and Forum

Rome - Food, Trevi and Pantheon

Madrid - Bear and Tree

Hotel One Shot Prado 23 Review

AVE Renfe Train Review

Day Out - La Tomatina

Valencia - Aquarium & Gulliver

Air Europa Review

Adventure - Scandinavia 2016

Bergen - Boats and Fish

FlΓ₯m - Hikes and Views

Oslo - Vikings and Ships

Oslo - Vigeland and Ski Jump

Stockholm - Abba & Meatballs

Copenhagen - Land

Copenhagen - Water

Day Out - Frederiksborg Castle

Let's go! - Israel

Adventure - Israel 2016

Jerusalem - Places to eat and drink!

Jerusalem - Old City

Jerusalem - Museums and Markets

Day Out - Makhtesh Ramon

Tel Aviv - Places to eat and drink!

Tel Aviv - Outside the city

Tel Aviv - In the city

Day Out - Caesarea

Haifa - Places to eat and drink!

Haifa - Wadi Nisnas & Mount Carmel

Haifa - Bahai Gardens

Day in the Life - Tel Aviv

Day Out - Horashim Forest

#13 - Israel

Let's go! - Barcelona

Barcelona #2 - Montjuic & Barri Gotic

Barcelona #1 - Gaudi

Let's go! - Bristol

Bristol - Things to eat and drink!

Bristol - Things to do and see!

Day Out - Sherwood Forest

#12 - Xmas

Day Out - Winterville London

Sophie Newton

Let's go! - Zurich

Zurich - Outside the city

Zurich - In the city

Day Out - Harry Potter Studio Tour

Let's go! - Japan

Adventure - Japan 2015

Tokyo 2

Nara & Hiroshima

Osaka

Koyasan

Kyoto 2

Kyoto

Tokyo & DisneySea

Tokyo

Boston Islands - What to see and do!

Boston - What to eat and drink!

Boston - What to see and do!

Seattle - What to see and do!

Adventure - British Columbia 2015

British Columbia 3 - Victoria

British Columbia 2 - Vancouver

British Columbia 1 - Whistler

Adventure - Alaska 2015

Juneau - Outside the city

Juneau - In the city

Whittier - Glaciers, Bears & Whales

Anchorage - Outside the city

Anchorage - In the city

Denali - ATVs, Huskies and a Moose

Louisville - What to see and do!

Little Rock - What to see and do!

Oklahoma City - What to see and do!

Kansas City - What to see and do!

St. Louis - What to see and do!

Memphis - What to see and do!

Great Smoky Mountains #2 - Hike and Fog

Great Smoky Mountains #1 - Bears & Dixie Stampede

Lake Erie Roadtrip #2 - Cleveland, Xmas and Rock & Roll

Lake Erie Roadtrip #1 - Toronto to Detroit

Fargo - What to see and do!

Reykjavik - Outside the city

Reykjavik - In the city

NYC Winter #2 - Markets, Lights and Trees

NYC Winter #1 - The Christmas Cluster

Day Out - The First Thanksgiving

New Orleans - What to see and do!

Montreal - Food Walking Tour

Montreal - Dos and Don'ts

Austin - What to eat and drink!

Austin - What to see and do!

Ghent in a day

Bruges in a day

Brussels in a day

Lisbon Day #3 - Tiles and Trams

Lisbon Day #2 - We Hate Tourism and Sintra

Lisbon Day #1 - Parque das Naçáes

Mountain Roadtrip #6 - Potatoes, Temple and Pride

Mountain Roadtrip #5 - Deer, Lakes and Cowboys

Mountain Roadtrip #4 - Yellowstone

Mountain Roadtrip #3 - Dudes, Spirits and Towers

Mountain Roadtrip #2 - Storms, Bison and Mount Rushmore

Mountain Roadtrip #1 - Denver, Snow and Red Rocks

Baltimore - Crabs, Old Bay and Beer

Las Vegas #2 - The Strip

Las Vegas #1 - Neon Museum, Hoover Dam & Fremont St

Day Out - Santacon NYC 2013

Balloon Roadtrip #4 - Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta 2013

Balloon Roadtrip #3 - Albuquerque

Balloon Roadtrip #2 - Flagstaff to Farmington

Balloon Roadtrip #1 - LA to Flagstaff