Alaska

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On Eldridge glacier in Denali National Park… …our first-ever glacier landing! Surprisingly, it was warm up here and we actually removed our winter coats… …

Dates visited: August 27, 2010 – September 5, 2010

I’m not sure whether the Alaska trip happened because my son wanted to see muskoxen (he was fascinated by these Arctic mammals) or because I realized that we’d never seen a glacier before. Whatever the reason, it turned out to be a wonderful vacation.

Instead of taking a big cruise ship from Seattle or Vancouver, I decided to fly into Anchorage and from there, take small boat tours that could go close to the glaciers. We had an amazing experience seeing the Portage glacier up-close, and stared in awe at the several glaciers of the Kenai Fjords National Park. But the crème de la crème was the aerial tour of Denali National Park where we not only saw Mt McKinley (highest mountain peak in North America, with a summit elevation of 20,237 feet (6,168 m) above sea level), other snow-capped peaks, enormous glaciers and frozen rivers of ice, but we also landed on a glacier (Eldridge glacier—a 30-mile long glacier). Surprisingly, it wasn’t freezing cold on the glacier and even though we rolled in the snow and had a snowball fight, we had to shed our heavy winter jackets to get comfortable.

Other highlights included visiting the Alaska State Fair where farmers display their abnormally huge vegetables and different breeds of poultry and other farm animals. We also visited North Pole, a city near Fairbanks that receives all the mail addressed to Santa Claus. Rohan was thrilled to meet Santa in the Santa Claus House and for several years, he held the bragging rights for having met the “real” Santa in North Pole.

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