Flightseeing in Denali is an experience that everyone traveling to Alaska should consider.
Part of my personality is the need for order. That means spreadsheets, agendas and itineraries so I know what to expect, what is expected of me and what I need to do. Those can be great attributes when planning a vacation, but they can also make for a stressful and not-so-fun trip.
I’ve learned that flexibility is absolutely necessary, especially when you’re planning outdoor activities. I’ve also learned that some times you change your plans because you never know when you’ll get the opportunity again.
When K and I went to Alaska, we mapped out (literally & figuratively) our trip. We had all our “must-dos” covered: tour Denali, hike the Kesugi Ridge, drive to Valdez, eat ridiculous amounts of salmon (wait…that was my must-do, not his). Anyway, you get the picture. We talked about flightseeing in Denali but quickly dismissed it. Yeah, it would be cool, but it would also cost a small fortune. For two cheapskates (or frugal, whatever you want to call us), it was not in the budget.
And it stayed out of the budget, until we hiked the Kesugi Ridge and had some of the clearest views of Denali. From our vantage point it was so majestic and awe-inspiring, that we had to get a closer look.
So after hiking the Ridge, our plans were to drive to Talkeetna to check out the Roadhouse Cafe. Talkeetna just happened to be the home for two flightseeing companies. We called one of those companies, K2 Aviation, and got the last two seats on an evening flight to fly around Denali and actually walk on a glacier.
After going over the safety information, we boarded the plane and took our seats. We each put on headphones so we could hear the pilot describe the various areas we were flying over. We were able to communicate with our pilot who was very knowledgeable about the mountain range and the area in general.
The views were absolutely amazing, but for me, the best part was seeing the look on my husband’s face as he took everything in. Prior to our flight to Anchorage, it had been YEARS since he had flown. OK, let’s be real, it had been decades. Seeing him enjoy himself was worth every penny spent.
My advice to anyone going to Alaska: spend the money and book a flightseeing tour! Life is about experiences and if you’re going to experience Alaska, this is one of the best ways to do it.