Well that was incredible

Rick Ropelewski |

By: Rick Ropelewski

Like everyone else after two years of COVID lockdown, we were getting a little cabin fever. So we crossed our fingers that the case numbers would not spike again and scheduled a trip a little farther afield to Alaska (okay - a lot further afield).

The trip was amazing in so many ways, with some of the highlights including:

  • Mt. Denali National Park – while we did not see too much wildlife the scenery was stunning. We only had a day to visit, but for you hikers you could spend a week in Denali alone. Fun fact (at least I find it interesting, my kids rolled their eyes) – Mt. Denali National park is larger than Massachusetts. While at the park we visited the facility that is home to Denali sled dog kennels. Another interesting fact is that during the winter the only mode of transportation in the park is sled dogs. So for scientific teams conducting research in the winter they use the sled dogs to transfer equipment and supplies to remote sites.
  • Anchorage – this is a very fun city; with a LOT of good restaurants, some fun shops and interesting museums.
  • Mendenhall Glacier – we were outfitted with serious hiking gear including crampons, ice axe and special gloves for the very sharp glacier ice.
  • Fly fishing – my son Pete and I spent one afternoon flying fishing on an island outside the town of Sitka. The outing involved a boat ride and then 45-minute hike through some gorgeous, but very remote forest area. Our guide, a 20-year old native Alaskan, told numerous stories of his encounters with bears. So of course, every twig snap and leaf rustling had me wondering if we were going to have a close encounter with mother nature. However, since the guide had bear spray he was my new best friend. Pete, being the avid fisherman caught seven or eight fish, but for my first time fly fishing I was able to land a trout.

I could go on and on. A couple suggestions for anyone considering Alaska as a destination. We had to go in May because this was the only time our family schedules were all in synch, but July and August typically have the best weather. Another advantage to that time of year is that the salmon are migrating, so the bears are out in full force. With many vacations you hear “you can’t see it all’, and that is particularly true in Alaska. Take the time to do some extra planning as you will be glad you did. It also helped that we had good friends who gave us some great advice; so I’m happy to pass along their wisdom to anyone considering the adventure.


The author of this article is Rick Ropelewski, Wealth Manager at U.S. Wealth Management.