Sunday 26 April 2020

5 Immemorable Experiences You Cant Miss in Alaska

It was Summer of 2016 and husband and I were in the USA for our work commitments. One day, out of nowhere, he declared that we were going to Alaska!

My first thoughts: It`s
going be cold with snow clad mountains everywhere. Little did I know, I was going to embark on a once in a lifetime journey of exhilaration, adventure, adrenaline rush all in the lap of some of the most stunning landscapes. Also, let me not forget to mention that it was in Alaska that I got the worst tan of my life, so if you are packing for Alaska please do not forget your sunscreen, scarfs and caps. There were a number of wow moments on this trip like spotting whales from a cruise, seeing icebergs/glaciers for the first time, a narrow escape when a moose ran in front of our car while we were driving at 100 miles an hour, soaking in the breathtaking landscapes on our Alaska rail road trip, etc. But there were some experiences which according to me were much more than memorable. So I decided to put them together in a blog.
Fireweed Ice-cream: On our first day in Alaska we were at Anchorage, the capital city. It is a lot like my kind of city - modern, touristy and beautiful. The rest of our trip was too adventurous, rustic and wild, much different than what I am used to. Anchorage is a perfect place to get a glimpse of the Alaskan culture. There were food trucks selling reindeer hotdogs, cute Anchorage trolley tour buses on the roads and it was also the first place where we experienced a moose on the loose scene. But what really was my favorite part here was the Fireweed Icecream. Fireweed is a plant local to Alaska and it is used quite a lot in Alaskan recipes. You can buy Fireweed jams, jelly and syrups in souvenir shops here. But the best treat is the Fireweed Ice-cream at Bearly Enough Ice cream. When we visited the Visitors Center in Anchorage to inquire about something, the sweet lady at the desk told us that we have to try the Fireweed Ice-cream. Her exact words were ``Try It. Its life changing.`` Since I was trying it for the first time, I wanted to have a backup, so instead of ordering two scoops of Fireweed ice-cream, I ordered one scoop of Fireweed ice-cream and 1 scoop of chocolate, only to regret my decision later. One bite into the Fireweed ice-cream and I totally understood what the lady at the Visitors center meant. It was that good! A flavor I have never tasted before, but something that will be etched in my taste buds forever. I didn't want to overindulge on my first day and hence I decided I would not order another one, since I had 8 more days to enjoy it. But alas, since our remaining trip was too adventurous, hectic and jam packed I couldn't find this ice-cream anywhere else. My advise, if you are at Anchorage, just eat Fireweed ice cream for lunch/dinner. I would, if I ever visit again.

Gold Panning : Did you know on March 30, 1867, the United States reached an agreement to purchase Alaska from Russia for a price of $7.2 million? And shortly after this deal, USA mined gold worth 100s of millions of dollars on the Alaskan land.
We booked a tour at Gold Dredge 8 which starts with a ride on a replica of the Tanana Valley Railroad near some of the original rail routes. It is a short narrated journey to the dredge were your regular conductor and commentator is Earl Hughes, who provides festive music along your journey. As part of the tour, Alaskan miners show you how to pan for gold, and you are given your own poke filled with pay dirt.
Guides are ready to help you uncover the gold in your pan. The seating is comfortable and there's warm water to wash and uncover the gold from the dust. The experience gets  exciting as at the end of it, you strike gold quite literally, which you can take home. At the end, you weigh and value your gold. Husband and I panned gold worth $50 together. :) We put our gold dust in a pendant so I can flaunt it whenever I want.



Glacier Landing Flights:

If you have booked yourself a glacier landing flight in Alaska, you have chosen an experience of a lifetime. Flying through stunning snow-capped peaks, intense blue meltwater pools and cascading icefalls felt like a dream. We chose to fly with Talkeetna Air Taxi and what a great experience it was! Knowledgeable pilot and friendly staff, who care not only about your safety but also about making your experience worthwhile. This tour gave us a birds eye view of the Alaskan range and gave us an opportunity to run, prance and play on the snow capped Alaskan mountain range. Who knew that the first time I would experience snow would be in Alaska!

Dog Sled Ride
: Haven't you seen videos of people gliding through snow as a pack of furry dogs pull the sled? It had been on my list of to-do things since I was a kid. But, because we visited Alaska in summers, we couldn't do an authentic dog sled ride due to the lack of snow,  but we did manage a dog cart ride at the Chena Resort and what a fun experience it was. The dogs were more excited than us and we had too much fun on the small trail we took.

Hot Springs
Located just sixty miles from Fairbanks, Chena Hot Springs Resort offers true Alaskan comfort and adventure. But what brings most tourists to this resort is their natural hot springs. This amazing place was discovered in August 1905 and became famous for curing crippled prospectors of their aches and pains. Fairbanks residents would take the near day trip each way to enjoy the healing waters and soak. Soaking in the natural hot springs here was an experience to remember. You feel really light and rejuvenated after the dip. I totally recommend it if you are visiting t
his side of the state.

Santa Claus House, North Pole:
Alaska is not really in the North Pole, so finding Santa here is a distant dream. But t
here is a city called North Pole in Alaska were there is a general store and post office turned holiday shop - just 20 minutes away from Fairbanks called Santa's house.
It’s Christmas
here all year round .The store includes live reindeer, a coffee shop, holiday gift items, the world’s largest Santa statue and, in summer months and over the holidays, Santa himself. This was such a fun experience and I kind of felt like I lived my childhood dream of meeting and talking to Santa at the North Pole!

There is so much more to Alaska than these 5 experiences.
Denali National Park, Pioneer Park, Ice Museum, Alaskan Rail Road, Kenai Fjords National park, Alyeska Aerial Tram,
Glacier cruises, Dog kennel tours and of course the Aurora viewing which we missed since it a winter phenomenon only. But all I can say is Alaska was one adventurous trip we can totally boast of taking. Hope you loved reading this post, as much as I loved composing it.


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