It’s spring break in San Francisco. You could go south to the sun and the beaches and the parties. Or you could go north, to the spectacular wilderness of Alaska.
This is Culture Honey, so of course we are going to go north. Alaska, here we come.
After a brief stop off in Seattle (there were no direct flights to Fairbanks, Alaska), the journey continued into the Last Frontier. Ideally, at least a week would be had exploring Fairbanks and the surrounding area. This is such a phenomenal place and there is just so much to see and do. Unfortunately, time commitments meant this whole journey would have to be done in four days.
Still, no matter how long you are there, you can always find activities tailored for you.
With no time to lose, the first stop had to be the Fairbanks Visitor Centre. With people so friendly and informative, it wasn’t long before recommendations came flying and all four days were filled to the brim.
Denali National Park
The first two days would be spent in Denali National Park, exploring and trying – and failing – to capture the beauty of the place in photos (The images we got were amazing, but they are nothing compared to the real deal).
First climbed in 1913, Mt. Denali – previously Mt. McKinley (there’s a controversial debate there) – is the highest peak in North America. It is a place of immense beauty and significance for the people who call it home, a mountain absolutely brimming with life. There is so much information to be found about life for those who call the mountain home. If you want to read about these incredible stories, check out the national park’s website here.
A lifetime could be spent here, learning the ways of the mountain and exploring its secrets. Two days only whets the appetite.
After a whirlwind time exploring Mt. Denali, the journey returns briefly to Fairbank before moving steadily onward to Chena Hot Springs Resort. Here at the hot springs, travellers can relax in the steaming hot water and spent time taking in the sites. When you only have two days you can’t go wrong by jumping on one (or more) of the many tours that the resort has to offer. We chose to take two: the Northern Lights Tour and the Sled Dog Ride.
No photo or video can ever do justice to the incredible ballet put on by the Northern Lights. Their multiplicity of colour twisting back and forth is absolutely breath-taking. The vast majority of the colours found in the Northern Lights are going to be somewhere along the spectrum of green shades. But if you’re really lucky, you’ll get to see a flare of red or blue, colours that only become visible during intense solar activity.
If you don’t see any red on your journey then it’s just an excuse to go back, right?
Chena Hot Springs Resort
Discovered over one hundred years ago by two brothers who were searching for a way to ease the pain of rheumatism, the Chena Hot Springs have been a place of relaxation and recuperation ever since. And to think, the brothers only heard about it because a geological survey crew had seen steam rising from somewhere on the Chena River. They didn’t investigate, they just concluded that it must be a hot spring. Apparently it wasn’t worth the time.
Boy, were they wrong.
Tours at the hot springs range in price from a little over $100 to over $1000, with the longer tours generally being more expensive. That being said, every traveller should be able to find something in their budget. Just make sure that whatever you decide to do, you stay safe. It is important you plan your trip and make sure you come prepared for what you wish to do.
Capturing in words and images the beauty of the Alaskan wilderness is next to impossible. No picture can instil in the viewer the feeling of immensity when you look out over the snow-covered land. This is just a taste, a teaser if you will. If you ever get the opportunity, we highly recommend taking a trip out there yourself. You won’t be disappointed.
Note: because of the current COVID-19 crisis, certain places may have restricted access. It is recommended that you call and book ahead to ensure you make the most out of your trip.