Alaska, Best Part, Worst Part

100_3339If I could, I’d return to Alaska this summer. Absolutely love that place. Anyone have free tickets? Just kidding! As a way to summarize the two trips I’ve taken there, I’d like to share the best parts and worst parts of my visits to that beautiful state.

Best Parts
1. Scenery. Are there enough adjectives to accurately describe such beauty? No. So check these posts for some of the best photos:
Cruising Glacier Bay
The Mountains were Out
Best View

2. Sitka, Alaska. At the end of the pier was a spindly tree. DSC00209An eagle stared at us from his perch on an upper branch. He seemed as curious about us as I was about him—thrilling to be so close to that magnificent bird in the wild. Several more flew above us, chose other places to perch or fished in the open water.

Another thing I liked about Sitka was the history. It was originally a Russian port. A small museum, a tiny Russian Orthodox church, and a shop selling Russian antiques (definitely out of my price range) were all interesting to me since I don’t see myself visiting Russia any time soon. We also attended a Russian folk dance performance put on by a local dance troupe.

3. We had the best bus-tour-driver-guide in Ketchikan. I shared some of his jokes in Catching Ketchikan Humor. In fact I enjoyed Ketchikan so much I wrote two other posts about it:
City of Many Names
Prepare to Shop

Worst Parts
Actually, there were NO worst parts of the state. Only three things disappointed me:
1. I missed the sled dogs pulling their sled. That was my fault for not reading the schedule of all the available activities in Denali BEFORE the next day. I arrived in the park an hour after their last run.
DSCN0756Other than missing the dogs, our tour of Denali Park was amazing. See for yourself:
Share the Road
2. I missed Sitka this year. It wasn’t on our itinerary. Thank goodness we went there on our first visit. We did see many other
interesting sights this trip and learned other things such as fireweed lore and about a scallywag in Skagway. Read about it here in: Six Weeks Until Winter

3. The Outhouses on Denali. If you’ve read some of my other posts, you may have noticed I like a sense of humor. It’s the best defense to handle difficult situations. Not everyone enjoys (or understands) my sense of humor. I wrote a little about this in a post titled, Salmonized. According to the stats it was my second highest viewed post. What do you know? Maybe some people did get my sense of humor after all.

After looking through this list, you can see I didn’t have any truly horrible experiences. It’s a wonderful state to visit. If you’ve been there, please share the favorite parts of your visit in the comments below. If you haven’t been there, but would like to, what do you wish you could see or know more about?

Travel Tips
• Mid to late summer might be the best time to travel to Alaska, but there is no guarantee of daily sunshine. On our first tour of Juneau, we were there July 4th. During the city festivities I overheard a native say, “That’s the first fourth of July parade I can remember that we didn’t have rain.” The photo below gives a glimpse of the weather that awaited us in Juneau last year on July 29th. As I said, there are no guarantees about weather.
thumb_DSC05893_1024To read about that visit see this post: You Can’t Get there from Here

• This of course reminds me to say, make sure you bring rain gear. In a previous post about Alaska, I mentioned my favorite jacket had a warm zip-in liner. It worked very well. On warm days I stuffed it in my small carry-on/backpack because by evening, I needed it.

• Read all the brochures and notice boards about activities, adventures, and tours available. Just in case you never make it back to this state, you’ll want to include all the adventures you can. You can look online to plan your trip or request a free official vacation planner at because “You Don’t Want to Miss This.”

planner2• If you travel by boat or air, be sure to plan for potential sea/air sickness. My favorite remedy, believe it or not, is ginger candy or ginger pills. They settle the stomach. I never once had trouble. Before I learned about these pills I always struggled with travel sickness.

Travel Light Humor
One of my family members complained of a stomach ache. I offered her a ginger candy. They are coated with sugar like a gumdrop.

To her they looked like a gummy bear. She didn’t think twice and quickly popped one into her mouth. Within a few seconds she desperately looked round for a place to a…a…

I think she might say that was one of the worst parts of her trip.

Make a note: If you don’t like the stout taste of ginger, then take the ginger pills instead.

Oh! I almost forgot. I had one more worst part. On our first visit to Alaska we went on a tour that included a lunch of grilled salmon. I was so excited. I don’t think I could ever get tired of smoked salmon.

Unfortunately, the recipe they used was the one with the brown sugar glaze–definitely not my favorite. That wasn’t the worst part, though.

Did I mention it was raining? Their outdoor grill was under cover.

We weren’t.

That still wasn’t the worst part, though.

I didn’t have to go to Alaska for this experience.

I could have grilled salmon at home and I could have used the same recipe. Then if I really wanted to eat soggy, cold, sweet, grilled salmon, I could have put on a raincoat and stood…under the lawn sprinkler.

Until next time…Travel Light,
© 2016 SuZan Klassen

11 thoughts on “Alaska, Best Part, Worst Part

      1. ABSOLUTELY!! Top on the list are England, France and Italy …. but I want to see too much in these countries to do it all in one trip. I plan to return several times 🙂

    1. You’re welcome. I know you mentioned how much you loved Ireland and would like to return. Is that where you plan to go next?

  1. My favorite part of Alaska was in Homer, that delightful little peninsula which locals call “The Spit.” In Homer, once / day, the eagle lady comes. She feeds the eagles by hand and they fly to her, perfectly trusting this one woman – scores of them. It was breathtaking.

    1. Ooh! I would love to have seen that! Actually I would love to have DONE that! Imagine having wild eagles eating out of your hand. Amazing. Thank you for sharing that.

  2. I badly want to go to Alaska!! Thanks for sharing your travel experiences. If I ever do make it up there, I will be well-versed from the get-go! 🙂 Also, Sitka makes me think of the Ryan Reynolds/Sandra Bullock movie The Proposal. A large portion of the movie was supposedly set in Sitka.

    1. Wow! I haven’t seen that movie. I’ll have to check it out to see if I recognize any of the scenery/town. Save your pennies. It’s definitely worth the trip.

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