Alaska in 4 days

Alaska is vast, in a 4-day trip, one can either do the northern Arctic part or the southern part. We did the latter. Here is the itinerary we followed.

  • Day 0 – Land in Anchorage, drive four hours to Denali national park.
  • Day 1 – Take Kantishna bus tour of Denali national park.  Driving inside the park is not allowed.

Denali National Park

 

Bear spotting in Denali

Moose in Denali National Park

  • Day 2 – Hike to Mt. Healy. Hike on Matanuska Glacier. If you have never walked on ice before, I would highly recommend hiking on the glacier.

Matanuska glacier

  • Day 3 – Hike on Harting Icefield trail. It is a fantastic hike next to a glacier.

Harting Ice Field

  • Day 4 – Take a day cruise at Whittier to Blackstone Bay. Do check the weather, when we did it snowing heavily, and that spoiled the sail a bit. It is unquestionably overpriced compared to other cruises I have done in the United States.

Otter in Whittier

 

Blackstone glacier

Few tips

  1. Public transport is almost non-existent. Rent a car right from the airport.
  2. Vegetarian food can be a bit hard to come by, but thankfully, Subways are everywhere.
  3. Carry pepper spray or walk in groups to avoid bears.
  4. Do carry a good jacket since rainfall/snowfall starts arbitrarily.
  5. The tunnel to Whittier in one-way and switches direction every 30 minutes. Do check it’s schedule.

Winter Trip to Mt. Whitney (Feb 2015)

Hiking up Mt. Whitney

  1. Day 1 – Reach the Outpost Camp (3.8 miles, 10.4K ft)
  2. Day 2 –
    1. Started at 8 AM
    2. Reached consultation lake at noon
    3. Reached trail crest at 2:20 PM
    4. Reached summit at 6 PM
    5. Returned to Outpost Camp by 11:35 PM
  3. Day 3 – Head back to Whitney Portal

Conditions

  1. It was all snow covered – knee-deep snow in some places.
  2. 99 switchbacks are not possible under such conditions, so, we climbed up the chute.
  3. The trail is dangerous beyond trail crest, don’t go alone.

Do

  1. Start early, preferably by 5 AM (we were late).
  2. Take hiking boots, hiking poles, gaiters, and crampons – I had microspikes (instead of crampons) and was without gaiters, it worked.
  3. Practice walking the ascents (~10% or more) on hikes or treadmill.
  4. Carry a stove and mug to heat and drink warm water.

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