Anchorage trip

Discussion in 'Cool Places to Fly' started by gdwindowpane, Feb 28, 2019.

  1. gdwindowpane

    gdwindowpane Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    So I'm going to be in Anchorage for a week in the latter part of June visiting my GF's son who is stationed there. I'd like to take a flying tour of Denali. A quick google search results in many outfits offering Denali tours. Anyone have a favorite? Is it worth the extra $$ to land on a glacier.

    I'd like to maybe do some halibut fishing as well. Any preferences for a charter?

    My GF's other son (type A) is planning all activities for the trip. But as they know me pretty well, I will be making some excursions off the beaten path, i.e. Denali trip, fishing, having beverages and simply watching the OPs out of Lake Hood, etc.

    Would love to support some POA'ers if they are in the business.

    Thanks for your suggestions!

    Chris
     
  2. kath

    kath Line Up and Wait

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    Do you have a sense of what places/towns you'll go to and how long you'll spend in each place? For instance, Talkeetna (2-hour drive from ANC and home of flightseeing to Denali from the south side)? or Homer (4.5-hour drive from ANC and home of halibut fishing)?

    Not in any kind of business, but always up for a beverage... will PM...
     
  3. gdwindowpane

    gdwindowpane Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    I think home base will be Anchorage proper. GF's son who is stationed there has leave for the week. His wife who works for the TSA probably doesn't so I imagine we'll be staying in Anchorage and venturing out from there.
     
  4. DFH65

    DFH65 Pattern Altitude

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    This is of interest to me. I will be in that area for 2.5 weeks this spring.
     
  5. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Think the two big ones are

    Fly Denali

    K2 aviation
     
  6. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking PoA Supporter

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    do either have operations out of ANC?
     
  7. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Think both are based a little north, not sure about how they shuttle folks, but I’m sure they know a good way to get folks up there.
     
  8. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I flew for Kantishna Air Taxi doing tours around Mt. McKinley. They are based in the gold mining village of Kantishna at the end of the park road. You can take the bus tour from the park entrance to Kantishna and it is about an 8 hour average drive with many stops for pictures and wildlife. From there you have the option of flying back or riding the bus back, which the bus ride back doesn't stop very much. http://www.katair.com/

    For Halibut fishing, Homer claims to have the best fishing. Homer is about a 5-6 hour drive out of Anchorage. Also bear viewing flights that go out to Katmai National Park or Lake Clark National Park, land on the beach and spend time with the bears. You will be closer to the bears than any zoo around. I flew for Alaska Bear Adventures for a summer. https://alaskabearviewing.com/

    I know this guy. Martin will treat you well. https://www.scenicbearviewing.info/

    https://www.kantishnaroadhouse.com
     
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  9. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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    Regal Air, Trail Ridge Air, Rust's Air Service (same company as K2) all are Lake Hood based and all do Denali flight seeing trips.

    Halibut fishing will be from Seward, Homer, or Ninilchik/Anchor Point. I can give you a good guide contact but not on a public board.

    You'll have more fun stuff to do than time to do it.
     
  10. German guy

    German guy Cleared for Takeoff

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    You could book a 3 day bush flying course at Alaska Floats and Skis in Talkeetna. This is what my wife and I will do in July: http://www.alaskafloats.com/
     
  11. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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  12. alaskazimm

    alaskazimm Filing Flight Plan

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    My daughter worked for Lake Clark Air for a couple of summers and got to go out on a bear viewing trip. She got pretty close to the bears who were more interested in the salmon than anything else.
    DSC_0243a.JPG
     
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  13. gdwindowpane

    gdwindowpane Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    GF loves bears so I think a trip might be in the top 10 things to do.
     
  14. Anymouse

    Anymouse En-Route

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    I flew with Don Lee in Afghanistan a bunch of years ago. Good guy. Be sure to give him my regards!!
     
  15. German guy

    German guy Cleared for Takeoff

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    I'll try not to forget... ;)
    2 friends went there last year, one did the bush flying course, the other the seaplane training. Both had a blast and spoke very highly about Don and his staff.
     
  16. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking PoA Supporter

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    The only way to see Alaska is by Coach.. and and super cub and it requireds all summer.
     

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  17. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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    Timing's a bit early for bear viewing. Maybe Big River Lake. All the float operators do that trip.

    If you're up for a 2-3 day excursion look into Copper Center and head toward McCarthy. That's a special part of the world and less spoiled by people than most road accessible attractions.
     
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  18. cgrab

    cgrab Pattern Altitude

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    Next Spring, my wife and I are "doing" Alaska. We will fly into Fairbanks and rent a vehicle then drive someplace far north to see the AB then turn around and go to North Pole, Valdez, ferry to Wittier and drive the tunnel then to the Wildlife Conservation Center and Anchorage. After that it's on to Talkeetna for a flight over the mountain and back to Fairbanks. We want to include panning for gold and mushing in our trip. Looking at early to mid-May for about two weeks.
     
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  19. kath

    kath Line Up and Wait

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    I wouldn't recommend chasing auroras in May in the North. There's a distinct lack of nighttime.
    But there is a truly amazing fly-in/air-show/bush-plane-a-palooza in Valdez in May. Highly recommended, whether you fly there or just drive!
     
  20. gdwindowpane

    gdwindowpane Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    So I guess we're going on an Alaska Railroad train ride to Denali. Leave on a Monday, staying at the Denali Park Village for 2 nights and heading back to Anchorage. Anyone done this trip? Would have liked to get some opinions before it was booked but that didn't happen, see post #1. Seems pretty expensive to me at $1k/per person but hey, it's not my money. lol.
     
  21. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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    The train is a good way to see things differently than from the highway. The Denali operators are very good at what they do. I can't imagine anyone not having fun there.
     
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  22. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Been there, done that, had a great time.

    We took the bus up from Anchorage, and the train back. The train got us back into town a couple hours before our flight left, so it all worked out.

    Along the way north to Denali, we stopped in Talkeetna and did the K2 flights around Denali. We didn't stop on the glacier, so we got a slightly longer flight instead.

    In Denali, we did the full tour. No private vehicles are allowed past the 4(?) mile mark, only the park tour buses. There will be a half day and full day option. The half day option goes half way into the park, then returns. The full day goes to the end of the road and then returns. There's a single, 80 mile, road into the center of the park. At the end of the road is a lodge where tours get lunch and a chance to walk around before getting back onto the bus. It's also possible to get a flight to the lodge and bus out, or bus to the lodge and get a flight back out.

    The train ride back was nice - there is a company that contracts out with the railroad to carry a couple of "first class" cars on the end. We got into one of those, upper deck seats with dining on the lower level. It's a long ride, so they serve lunch and dinner as part of the deal. There's also a bar, so have a few beers and snacks, enjoy the views, take a nap, have a nice couple of meals, and relax - stand out on the rear platform if you want some fresh air. The rest of the train cars are your basic train seating with a dining car for something to eat.

    Here's one of the Denali pix on our K2 flight. Our pilot was former Air Force, I got front seat. I watched him fly, pretty much hands off most of the way using trim only. I took my tablet with Garmin Pilot along for the ride.

    [​IMG]
     
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  23. IK04

    IK04 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Be sure to head up the Steese Highway and go to the Chatanika Lodge. Write your names on a Dollar bill and staple it to the ceiling!

    See the pipeline and go to the Gold Dredge 8 and pan for real gold! From there you can continue North all the way up the Dalton Highway to the Arctic Circle and get the obligatory photos...
     
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  24. Eric Stoltz

    Eric Stoltz Line Up and Wait

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  25. BillTIZ

    BillTIZ Final Approach

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    Talkeetna, single engine tail dragging Otters on skies. Nice tourist town.
     
  26. SToL

    SToL Line Up and Wait

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    Oh man, trying to cram Alaska into a week is like taking your kids to Disneyland for an hour. There's just WAAAAYYYYY to much to see and do, and half of those things take the better part of a day just to get there. People forget just how big Alaska is.

    I lived in Talkeetna for many years and flew for a few of the operators up there. They're all good outfits. They all fly climbers and tourist but each has a different feel.

    K2, really leans towards the tourist thing. They cater to tourist and it's run like a tourist operation. They have nice planes, Beavers, 185, Turbine Otters, all on wheel skis, along with the Chieftain and Turbo 206 for summit flights.

    TAT, "Talkeetna Air Taxi is kind of the middle ground. They do tours but really puts a lot of focus on the climbers. It's a different feel from K2. I like them and know the owner. He's a great guy. They also fly 185s, Beavers and Turbine Otters.

    Personally, I would point you towards a smaller operator. SAS, Sheldon Air Service. This is owned by Holly Sheldon, daughter of the late great bush pilot Don Sheldon and her husband David Lee, the brother of Donnie Lee spoken of in an earlier post. They fly 185s and Beavers.

    As far as doing the tour out of Anchorage, there's a helicopter outfit that does it. www.anchoragehelicoptertours.com I don't know anything about them so you're on your own.

    Whoever you decide to fly with, tell them you want a 'Glacier Landing'. It's a once in a lifetime - must do bucket list item. Spectacular.

    And tell them PJ said hi.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
  27. sourdough44

    sourdough44 Pattern Altitude

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    50A67FF0-9602-46A3-A4EF-6E87E5123995.jpeg 3768E8AD-B363-477A-8887-4318114DC8F9.jpeg Since you’ll be in Anchorage a fair amount here are some ideas. The favorite brew-pubs can get a bit busy, F-Street Station, 49 State Brewery, Humpy’s, & Glacier BrewHouse. There are others, my favorite ‘dive bar’ is the Polar Bar.

    If inclined you can get a bicycle from Downtown Bike rental, very nice paved trail. Upstream on Ship Creek you have the fish hatchery. They have fish holding pens & capture Kings as they come up, not sure about run times. This is a separate trail, down the hill.

    The other way on the trail brings you along the shore, towards Lake Hood, then behind PANC to Kincaid Park. The best chance to see a moose near town is in Kincaid Park. If you venture out in the real bush you could get some bear spray from the Surplus store. Of course not for any plane & give it away before you leave. A secondary use is if you were to run into an aggressive vagrant. No, not a high likelihood, just saying.

    Here are two pictures from a few days ago, Kincaid Park.
     
  28. kath

    kath Line Up and Wait

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