TODAY IS MY TRAVEL TUESDAY POST
Taking You on My Glacial Landing Tour of Mount McKinley Alaska
This glacial landing tour trip will probably be in my top 10 most amazing things I have ever done in my entire life. The thing is, it almost didn't happen. It was a last minute idea on one of my last days in Alaska.
|This was the best view of our trip of the mountain before we took the Glacial Landing Trip|
They say only 30% of the people who go to Alaska have the opportunity to see Mt. McKinley. Even if you are standing right in front of in inside Denali National Park. The reason for this is, the mountain has it's own weather system and is very unpredictable.
When I was touring Denali NP, I was not able to see the beautiful mountain. But on one of my last day's I was traveling the area of Talkeenta, Alaska. We had no plans that day, so when we saw the signs to book the Airplane tour of Mt. McKinley we decided, what the heck. Just in case we never made it back there again.
|Right from the start as the small plane takes its time touring the mountain range as|
it works its way up in elevation.
Our tour was departing late afternoon, early evening (But June in Alaska it doesn't matter, since the sun doesn't really go down there in the summer).
They fitted us with some good boots that fit right over our other shoes, so we could get out and walk around on the glacier. A glacier landing was part of the tour deal we purchased.
Then we were off, right from the start you flew over beautiful Alaskan Wilderness, massive forests, mountain and glacial lakes, and beautiful rivers.
|In this picture you can see a moving melting glacier, it is several miles long and over a thousand feet deep.|
Our tour guide a.k.a pilot was amazing, he told us lots of history and fun facts about the mountains and all the different names of all the peaks we were passing. We were in a small plane, and I took the back seat since it was a single ride seat, and this gave me plenty of room to take pictures out both sides of the windows. Which is why you see the plane wing in some of these pictures. It is also why the pictures are not exactly the highest quality.
Not only do you see Mt. McKinley, but you also will get up close and personal views with many glaciers and peaks (pilot chooses your exact flight) We lucked out and were able to get up and close to them all. Including Mount Foraker 17,400 peak.
|Just imagine there is around 2,000 feet of ice under this massive glacier|
Could you imagine being out hiking on this terrain? Out exploring and experiencing these glaciers from the ground. Seeing the hanging glaciers above you from the mountains above?
Well that is exactly what people do every year. They take up to a month out of their lives to go up here and climb to the top of Mount McKinley and some of the other peaks.
I have to be honest, if ever given the opportunity I would SO BE THERE!!
|Hard to see in this picture unless you know what you're looking for, but you can actually see the trails these|
adventurist take to scale these mountains.
An interesting fact, because the base of this mountain is only a few thousand feet above sea level. When you look up at this mountain from base to top you are looking at an 18,000 foot rise. This is actually the largest mountain in the world situated above sea level. Yes, you read that right. Mount Everest is the highest in elevation, but this mountain is taller from top to bottom than even it is from land and the eyes view looking up!
|This is a close up view of Mount McKinley - They climb to the top of that tip top peak you see in the picture.|
|This is a view from further back. Compare this to the first picture I put up in this post - amazing isn't it!|
|I loved the views of these amazing hanging glaciers affixed to the sides of the beautiful granite mountains|
Well if you pay a little extra, okay so quite a bit extra. I think it cost us $80 more per person to do the Glacial Landing part. But we figured, why not! We may never get to do this again, so why leave with any regrets.
SOOOO WORTH IT!!!!! The HIGHLIGHT of our Alaska Trip
|yeah, ignore the fact that I decided not to wear make-up this day!|
Now to be honest, you may not have this exact experience. Our pilot picked a glacial landing at a little over 12,500 feet for us to get out. He picked this area because the weather was great on this side, and the ice was good to land on. He also picked it because he loves to show people what it means to experience the saying "It was so quiet it was loud".
|The plane leaving just as we got there, so we were able to be the only ones up on the glacier at the time!|
It was an amazing experience. It seriously was so absolutely quiet, that the quiet was loud. I can't really describe it, its nothing I have ever experienced before. The quiet alone was amazing!
Not a bird, or bug or sound of wind or water in the air. You just looked around and it was absolutely beautifully peaceful! Occasionally you'd hear in the distance a loud long crack as the ground opened up somewhere. A few times I head in the distance the loud rumbling cracking sound of a large hanging glacier breaking off and falling to the ground. But for the most part, absolutely nothing!
Seriously an amazing experience! I may have been wearing my jacket when I landed, but I quickly threw it into the plane. The jacket was really only needed for the cool plane ride. The temperatures up on the glacier that day were t-shirt weather.
Honestly, if I had the money I would have paid to have the pilot drop me off with a tent and come and pick me up the next day. I would love to spend the night in such a magnificent peacefully awe inspiring place! Of course, there is a chance where I am standing could be a giant crack the next day:) But still...
|Me and the parents - I took them to Alaska for their Christmas and Birthday Presents that year|
Yeah, I'm an awesome daughter:)
Words can't describe how magnificent this all is, and the scale of it all. This is one thing IF you can in your lifetime, you'll want to add to your bucket list!!!
It was worth it more than I can say, and once I stepped foot on that glacier, the cost to do it pretty much left my mind. It was worth it!
I hated having to leave the fun of walking around in parts of Alaska that most people don't even realize exists, but we couldn't stay there forever.
The plus side, when you leave you still have a beautiful flight ahead of you as you make your way back to Talkeenta. I loved our pilot, we took a different way back so we were able to see entirely new views than before, nothing was the same!
Slowly as you fly back down and around, the color of the ice starts changing again. The picture below, is a moving glacier, but this is part of the first few miles of it, at a lower elevation. So the dirt covers it, which is why it doesn't look like a white ice flowing river:)
Eventually, you begin to leave the massive mountain range in Denali Alaska
And the ice begins to melt back down to those massive glacial rivers and streams that flow through the beautiful state.
After our tour, we headed back to this beautiful cabin we rented. I have to say this was one of the nicest places we stayed during the entire trip. This cabin had a wrap around porch so you could sit out and enjoy the evening and midnight sun:) Also right in front of us was a massive river so you could just relax and enjoy the river flow, watch for bears and other wildlife! The perfect way, to end the perfect day!
IF YOU GO:
* I took my tour out of Talkeenta Alaska, we took the Talkeenta Air Taxi Tours
* Tip - We were able to secure a bit of a discount on our flight thanks to using my parents Military Discount
* Tip - If you aren't military, you can still find a discount by booking a last minute tour. However if you do this your risking availability. However, if you are flexible with your dates you might be able to save a few $$.
* We flew into Anchorage and rented a car. But you could also take a scenic train ride to the area. Or fly into Fairbanks.
* There is lots of hiking, fishing and animal sight seeing opportunities in the area.
* Denali National Park is just down the road from Talkeenta, I believe it was a 2 hour drive for us.
* Bring a camera!!!! I took hundreds of pictures on this trip, I only selected a few above to show:)
* It is a hefty price tag, but honestly it was worth it, I promise!!!