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Canadian Rockies/Alaska Trip

August-September, 2003

                         Canadian Rockies Landtour                              Alaska Cruisetour

1995 National Geographic Photo of the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

Tour Day Day


Location Photos

Click Photo to View Photos from Day

Web References/Travel Plans
1 Thursday


Washington to


Alaska Airlines Flight 5 leaves Washington Dulles (Jim) at 8:25 AM, arrives Seattle 10:56AM (first class, breakfast, non-stop). Alaska Airlines Flight 3 leaves Washington Dulles (Vicky) at 5:25 PM, arrives Seattle 8:03 PM (first class-dinner, non-stop). Seattle Westin  Hotel-check-n after 3 PM. Gray line Airport Express from airport to Westin (40 minutes)

2 Friday



Visit Space Needle, Pike Place Market

Seattle Westin Hotel

3 Saturday



City Tour-see Seattle neighborhoods, surrounding lakes, stadiums, Pike Place Market, Chinatown, salmon ladder, Ballard locks, University of Washington, Bremerton Naval Base, Vashon Island via land bus and two ferries. Welcome reception at 7 PM at the Westin Hotel to meet tour group and escort.






Motorcoach to Kamloops . From Seattle, travel north through Everett and the farming communities of northwest Washington State. A stop at Minter Gardens in southwestern British Columbia delights the senses.  Continue through the rich farmlands of the Fraser River Delta.  Overnight at the South Thompson Inn & Guest Ranch. (B,D).  The Inn was built in 1994 and patterned after a Kentucky horse farm.  The hotel is on a 45-acre estate on the shores of the South Thomson River (substitute for the  Quaaout Lodge because of forest fires). (B,D)

5 Monday


Lake Louise See four national Parks on the way to Lake Louise: Mt. Revelstoke, Glacier, Yoho and Banff. Travel Highway 1 east from Chase through Revelstoke.  Turn into the high-walled valley of the Illecillewaet River, heading towards Canada's Glacier National Park and the Selkirk Mountains.  Descend into the Beaver River valley, which separates the jagged Selkirks from the more rounded Purcell Mountains.  Travel through the narrow Kicking Horse River Valley and over Kicking Horse Pass, approaching scenic Lake Louise in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. Overnight at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. (B,D)
6 Tuesday


Banff View Moraine Lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks on the way to Banff.  Morning departure will include a stop at either Sulphur Mountain or Lake Louise Ski Resort for an optional gondola ride to the top of the mountain for views of the surrounding area.  Join the Trans-Canada Highway through the Bow River Valley to Banff.  Overnight at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. (B,D)
7 Wednesday


Jasper Visit turquoise-colored Peyto Lake and ride a snowcoach across Athabasca Glacier. The Icefield Parkway is a wonderland of icy peaks, glaciers and lakes.  Peyto Lake, which changes colors with the seasons, and the Columbia Glacier-fed Athabasca Falls are points of interest along the route.  Approaching Jasper, enjoy the view of Mount Edith Cavell, named after a British Red Cross nurse who served during World War I. Stay at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge for the night. (B,D)
8 Thursday


Kamloops Motorcoach to Kamloops. See Mt. Robson, tallest peak in the Canadian Rockies, on the way. Leaving the province of Alberta and Jasper National Park, traverse Yellowhead Pass and stop for a view of Mt. Robson at almost 13,000 feet.  Glacier-carved lakes, peaks and streams provide much of the setting for the drive to the ranching region of Kamloops. Overnight at the South Thompson Inn & Guest Ranch. (B,D). 
9 Friday


Vancouver Travel to Vancouver via motorcoach.  Travel through beautiful rugged mountain country.  The landscape changes rapidly entering the fertile Fraser River Valley, home to agriculture, as well as the timber and logging industries.  Tour the city and Stanley Park, the largest urban park in North America.  Covering 1,000 largely pristine acres of natural rain forest, the park stretches from the shores of Burrard Inlet and Coal Harbour.  The tour also visits Chinatown and Gastown, where the city of Vancouver originated.  Check into the Pan Pacific Hotel for the night (B,D). Located at Canada Place, the Pan Pacific has sweeping mountain and harbor views.
10 Saturday


Vancouver Sail from Vancouver aboard the new Island Princess Cabin Caribe BA-C615 Balcony, 5:30 PM. (B), Embarkation at noon, Canada Place Pier
11 Sunday 9/7

At sea

12 Monday 9/8 Ketchikan, Alaska Arrive 6:30 AM; depart 2:30 PM. Heritage Town and Country Tour-9 AM to 1 PM. Comprehensive tour of Ketchikan to learn about the region's culture, customs and economy.  Visit numerous points of interest including the earliest settlement area in Ketchikan, the Totem Heritage Center and its collection of the oldest totems in the nation, historic Creek Street, Refuge Cove and the Tribal House at Totem Bight State Park.  Enjoy smoked salmon/beverages at the Alaskan Totem Trading Company.  Browse the small but charming Alaskan Museum, with its collection of pre-1865 antique firearms.  At the Deer Mountain Tribal hatchery, photograph live eagles up-close, feed the fish and tour the unique salmon and steelhead trout-rearing facility.
13 Tuesday 9/9 Juneau, Alaska Arrive 7:00 AM; depart 7:30 PM. Whale Watching and Wildlife Quest Tour-8 AM to noon. Motorcoach to Auke Bay and board a water jet-powered catamaran specifically designed for wildlife viewing.  Admire the majestic backdrop of snow-capped peaks and glaciers as the captain guides the ship through the island-studded waters of Stephens Passage.  The onboard naturalist explains the habits and habitat of the wildlife encountered, which includes humpback and killer whales, Stellar sea lions, harbor seals, Dall's porpoises, bald eagles and Sitka blacktail deer.

Mendenhall Glacier and Salmon Hatchery Tour-2:30 PM to 5:30 PM. Take a narrated tour of Juneau, see the largest fish ladder in Alaska and admire magnificent Mendenhall Glacier in Tongass National Forest. The guide recounts the history of Juneau's gold rush as the tour departs downtown enroute to Macaulay Hatchery where adult spawning salmon are seen.  Learn about the unique and fascinating reproductive cycles of Pacific salmon.  The museum quality exhibits detail the hatchery's annual production of over 150 million salmon and numerous aquariums showcase local marine wildlife.  Visit monumental Mendenhall Glacier-one-and-a-half miles wide, hundreds of feet thick and fed by the 1,500-square-mile Juneau Icefield.  This meandering river of compressed blue ice ranks as the largest glacier accessible by road.  The U.S. Forest Service staff offers a wealth of information on glaciers during the visit.  The newly renovated Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center features new exhibits, interactive videos and a panoramic view of the glacier, offering the perfect vantage point for photos of this world-famous sight.  On the way back to Juneau, visit Chapel by the Lake, a quaint log church with an inspirational view of Auke Lake and Mendenhall Glacier.

14 Wednesday 9/10 Skagway, Alaska Arrive 7:00 AM; depart 8:00 PM. Best of Skagway Tour-12:15 PM to 6:45 PM. Board the historic White Pass & Yukon railroad and relax in an antique parlor car.  As the train ascends dramatic mountains, the guide shares colorful stories of the Yukon gold rush.  From the depot in Fraser, British Columbia, board a motorcoach to see such dazzling sites on the Klondike Highway as Pitchfork Falls and the Tormented Valley.  At the foot of the pass lies Liarsville Gold Rush Trail Camp.  There a cast of sourdoughs and luscious madams entertain with hilarious melodrama and recite poetry by Robert Service, the "Bard of the North."  Learn the art of gold panning and then try it in the Liarsville gold fields.  After working up an appetite, sit down to freshly grilled Alaska salmon and a variety of delicious side dishes.  After lunch, wander through the shops and residences of the little hamlet.  Have a picture taken with one of the friendly giant sled dogs or a sumptuous madam.  The adventure concludes with a visit to the world famous Red Onion Saloon.  The madam breaks out the champagne and throws a private party in the upstairs brothel.  Hear incredible tales of the "soiled doves" who used to work in these historic rooms. 
15 Thursday 9/11 Glacier Bay Cruising, Alaska Arrive 6:00 AM; depart 3:00 PM
16 Friday 9/12 College Fjord Cruising, Alaska Arrive 3:00 PM; depart 6:00 PM
17 Saturday 9/13 Seward (Anchorage), Alaska Arrive 2:30 AM; Disembark ship and transfer through the scenic Kenai Peninsula to Anchorage (3 hours-127 miles). Fly to Fairbanks (1 hour-261 miles). Afternoon Fairbanks City Tour (2.5 hours). Overnight at the Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge. Situated on the Chena River, the lodge has a terraced deck extending to the water's edge.  Check-in time is 3:30 PM.
18 Sunday 9/14 Denali Transfer to rail depot at 7:15 AM. Board the Midnight Sun Express for a scenic rail journey to Denali (4 1/2  hours-119 miles). Train departs Fairbanks at 8:15 AM and arrives at noon. Enjoy an afternoon Natural History Tour into the park (3 hours). The diversity of the landscape unfolds as the tour travels from a taiga forest to the vistas afforded by the sweeping tundra.  Overnight at the spectacular Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge.
19 Monday 9/15 Denali Morning at leisure. Experience the warmth of a husky homestead and learn about the sport of dog sled racing. Goose Lake Kennel is just a few miles south of the entrance to Denali National Park. It is home to champion Iditarod musher Jeff King, his wife Donna (a well-known wildlife artist), their three daughters, and 75 friendly sled dogs. Meet Jeff’s Iditarod dog sled champions, cuddle the puppies and see a demonstration of training huskies with the use of a dog-powered carousel. Learn the daily routine of caring for champion dogs and hear compelling tales of life and endurance on the Iditarod trail.

Enjoy a horseback ride suited for all experience levels along the northern face of the Alaska Range. Transported by van into territory inhabited by Dall sheep, grizzly bear and moose. At the stables, receive basic riding and safety instructions before setting out in small groups of eight or less. Enjoy panoramic views as ride progresses along the mountainside through fields of blueberries and wildflowers. Drift back in time to the turn of the century when stampeders and trappers first roamed this country and picture how they lived as  remnants of their old cabins are viewed.

Enjoy a scenic motorcoach trip (2.2 hours-112 miles) to the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge at the south side of Denali National Park.  The George Parks Highway is the only road connection between interior Alaska and Anchorage, the state's largest city.  Beautiful scenery is viewed as the trip travels through Broad Pass (2,300 feet), to the point where rivers flow either north to the Yukon River or south to Cook Inlet, taking in a spectacular view of the surroundings.  The lodge is located on the Chulitna River and affords stunning views of the Alaska Range and Denali.  Check-in time is 3:30.

20 Tuesday 9/16 Anchorage Morning at leisure. Discover everything about the Iditarod–Alaska’s great dog sled race. When the elements allow, the south face of Mt. McKinley graces the route to the Danly-Hall dog kennel. Meet Iditarod musher Bill Hall for an in-depth look at the pursuit of dog mushing. Learn typical feeding routines used along the Iditarod race trail and how to harness and hitch up a dog. See a demonstration of how the dogs are taught voice commands using a summer training cart. Find out about training, racing and breeding sled dogs and receive autographed musher cards and dog booties as a souvenir of the visit.

Board a plane, take-off and climb over Talkeetna. Fly by the south face of Mt. McKinley and past Mt. Foraker and Mt. Hunter before crossing over Kahiltna Glacier, the longest glacier in Denali National Park. Descend into immense Sheldon Amphitheater and follow Ruth Glacier through Great Gorge, the deepest gorge in the world. Enjoy views of Mt. Dickey and Moose’s Tooth on the return flight to Talkeetna.

Transfer by motorcoach to the rail depot in Talkeetna (1.2 hours-50 miles). Board the Midnight Sun Express rail (3.5 hours-112 miles) for overnight in Anchorage at the Hotel Captain Cook.  Talkeetna is a popular starting point for expeditions preparing to climb Mt. McKinley. Talkeetna is a Dena'ina Indian word meaning "where the rivers meet," referring to the point where the Talkeetna and Chulitna rivers join the Susitna. Enroute to Anchorage, travel through the Matanuska Valley which is Alaska's primary agricultural area.  Many hours of summer daylight produce huge vegetables here.  The Alaska State Fair is held in this region each summer and the "giant cabbage" competition is very spirited.  Train departs Talkeetna at 4:40 PM and arrives in Anchorage at 8:15 PM.  The Captain Cook Hotel is located in the heart of downtown Anchorage overlooking Cook Inlet and the Chugach Mountains.

21 Wednesday 9/17 Anchorage Tour ends in morning in Anchorage.  Tour the Alaska Zoo. Hotel Captain Cook
22 Thursday 9/18


Tour the Anchorage Museum of History and Art. Take a tour of Anchorage. Hotel Captain Cook
23 Friday 9/19

Anchorage to Washington

Final Thoughts

Alaska Airlines Flight 2 leaves Anchorage at 8:06 AM, arrives Washington Reagan National at 9:00 PM (two first class-breakfast, lunch, one stop-Seattle-no plane change).