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On the Road in Interior Alaska in Winter: Adventure, Adaptation and the Aurora Borealis

Program Number: 14630RJ
Start and End Dates:
3/8/2010 - 3/13/2010;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Denali National Park, Alaska
Price starting at: $1,398.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: On the Road; Natural History Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 14; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Revel in Alaska’s beauty as you examine the plants, animals and people who make it their home. In historic Talkeetna, a local mountaineer discusses the challenges that the pioneers faced, and in Fairbanks, the University of Alaska’s Museum of the North offers lessons on the natural and cultural history of interior Alaska. Follow Denali National Park’s winter trails to learn about local wildlife and look skyward each night for a glimpse of the northern lights.




Highlights

• Study the special adaptations of furry canine Iditarod veterans with a visit to a sled dog kennel.
• Explore Alaska’s frontier history on an interpretive walk through historic downtown Talkeetna.
• Keep your eyes peeled for moose and caribou as you journey across the Alaska Range to Denali.



Activity Particulars

Aurora borealis sightings contingent on weather conditions.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Anchorage, coach to Talkeetna, 1 night; coach to Denali, 2 nights; coach to Fairbanks, 2 nights; departure.



Coordinated by Denali Education Center




Talkeetna

With Mount McKinley and a panorama of the Alaska range to the north, Talkeetna is the hub of the Alaskan mountaineering community. Beautifully crafted log buildings, flower gardens and hanging baskets add a rustic charm to this quintessential Alaskan village.



Fairbanks

The indigenous Athabaskan tribe had fished in the local area for centuries before it was settled in 1903 as a trading post for riverboats and gold prospectors. Fairbanks today is an important player in interior Alaska’s oil fields and pipelines.



Denali National Park

Established in 1917, this 6 million-acre wilderness is home to 20,320 foot Mount McKinley, and wildlife such as moose, caribou, Dall sheep and grizzly bear, and is considered one of the most intact sub-arctic ecosystems in the world.



Accommodations
Hotel accommodation in Talkeetna, Denali and Fairbanks.
Meals and Lodgings
   Swiss-Alaska Inn
  Talkeetna, AK 1 night
   Motel Nord Haven
  Healy, AK 2 nights
   Sophie Station
  Fairbanks, AK 2 nights
 Swiss-Alaska Inn
Type: Motel
  Contact info: F Street
Talkeetna, AK 99676 USA
phone: 907-733-2424
web: www.swissalaska.com
  Smoking allowed: No

 Motel Nord Haven
Type: Motel
  Contact info: Mile 249.5 Parks Highway
Healy, AK 99743 USA
phone: 907-683-4500
web: www.motelnordhaven.com/
  Smoking allowed: No

 Sophie Station
Type: Hotel
  Contact info: 1717 University Ave.
Fairbanks, AK 99709 USA
phone: 907-479-3650
web: www.fountainheadhotels.com/sophie/sophie.htm
  Room amenities: Free Wi-Fi in all rooms, computer kiosk in lobby, iron and hair dryer in rooms.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after:  You may stay additional nights after the program. Call the hotel directly for more information.


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
3/8/2010 10 am You will be staying at Swiss-Alaska Inn that night.
  End of Program:
3/13/2010 after breakfast You will be staying at Sophie Station the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Parking is available at hotels; however, this is a traveling program that begins in Anchorage and ends in Fairbanks, so using personal transportation is not practical.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Talkeetna, AK
  From End of Program
  Location:  Fairbanks, AK
Travel Details
 

Fairbanks

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle

   

Sophie Station provides complimentary shuttle service to the Fairbanks airport.

 

Anchorage

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$20
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

15 minutes from Anchorage airport to course start location 

   

The Westmark Hotel is at 720 West 5th Ave. between G & H streets in downtown Anchorage.

 
Driving Directions
  Anchorage Airport (ANC) Traveling East onto International Airport Road, turn left onto C Street and follow it down to 3rd Avenue and turn left onto 3rd Avenue and the hotel is on the left side.
  East Traveling West on Tudor Road, turn right onto New Seward Highway, going North, turn left on 5th Avenue, turn right on A Street. Go two blocks and turn left on 3rd Avenue. The hotel is on the left side.
  North Traveling South on the Glenn Highway (Turns into 5th Avenue, once in downtown) and turn right on A Street. Go three blocks and turn left on 3rd Street, the hotel is on the left side.
  South Traveling North on the New Seward Highway turn left onto 5th Avenue and turn right onto A Street and turn left onto 3rd Street and the hotel is on the left side.
  West Traveling East on Dimond Blvd, turn left onto New Seward highway. Going North turn left on 5th Avenue, turn right on A Street, go two blocks and turn left on 3rd Avenue. The hotel is on the left side.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Walking tour of Talkeetna / Mountain Climbing talk
(Monday, March 8)
   
 Arrive To: Gather at the Westmark Anchorage hotel to meet your Road Scholar Coordinator and the rest of the group. Then board a bus for Talkeetna. NOTE: We will NOT be staying overnight at the Westmark Anchorage. We will simply be meeting there to board the bus to Talkeetna.
 Morning: Absorb the magnificent size of the Alaska Range and Mt. McKinley as you journey ever closer to them during this morning drive to the eclectic mountain gateway town of Talkeetna, Alaska.
 Afternoon: Experience a slice of Alaskan frontier history as you visit historic structures on an amazing walking tour of Talkeetna.
 Dinner: Dinner in a Talkeetna restaurant.
 Evening: Enjoy an evening presentation that will give insight into modern life in Talkeetna--a town still very much influenced by its frontier past. Afterwards, if the weather allows, search the sky for northern lights.
   
Accommodations: Swiss-Alaska Inn
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Field trip to Denali National Park Visitor Center
(Tuesday, March 9)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in Talkeetna.
 Morning: Visit the Ranger Station to learn about modern mountaineering on Denali. Then, at the Sheldon Arts Hangar, hear about the early history of aviation in the Range.
 Lunch: Box lunch on motorcoach.
 Afternoon: Journey through the heart of the Alaska Range, through Denali State Park, across the Denali Fault, and into Denali National Park and Preserve. Arrive at the Park Visitor Center, see “Hearbeats of Denali,” the award-winning film. Explore Denali's winter trails (weather permitting) and learn about the wintertime habitat of local wildlife.
 Dinner: Dinner in Healy
 Evening: An evening presentation will give a window into the lives of those who embrace the challenges of an Alaskan winter. Afterwards, watch for the aurora, weather permitting.
   
Accommodations: Motel Nord Haven
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Field trip to the Sled Dog Kennels.
(Wednesday, March 10)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in Healy
 Morning: Discuss the unique characteristics of Denali’s far-northern ecosystem, learn why Denali’s climate is so extreme, and explore the wintertime adaptations of Denali’s plants and trees.
 Lunch: Lunch in Healy
 Afternoon: Visit dogs who have run in the Iditarod, and see what their home life is like! Our behind-the-scenes look at a real Alaskan sled dog kennel provides an opportunity to appreciate how well-adapted the dogs are to their wintertime environment.
 Dinner: Dinner in Healy
 Evening: Join the community for an evening potluck celebration and a guest speaker . Afterwards, watch for the aurora, weather permitting.
   
Accommodations: Motel Nord Haven
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Creature Adaptations / Local Occupations
(Thursday, March 11)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in Healy
 Morning: Enjoy a slide show and presentation focusing on the amazing adaptations of Denali’s wintertime fauna, complete with pelts, skulls, and other educational props.
 Lunch: Lunch in Healy
 Afternoon: Get a behind the scenes tour of the Usibelli Coal Mine. Travel by motor coach to Fairbanks, the cultural capital of the Interior.
 Dinner: Dinner at a restaurant in Fairbanks.
 Evening: Check-in to the hotel, then enjoy a free evening.
   
Accommodations: Sophie Station
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Museum of the North / World Ice Art Championship
(Friday, March 12)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in Fairbanks
 Morning: Visit the University of Alaska’s newly-expanded Museum of the North and learn about the natural and cultural history of interior Alaska. Highlights include a light-and-sound display that interprets seismic vibrations and the dance of the northern lights in real time.
 Lunch: Lunch in a Fairbanks-area restaurant.
 Afternoon: Visit the magnificent display of ice carvings at the World Ice Art Championship 2010.
 Dinner: Dinner in Fairbanks.
 Evening: Farewell Social. Afterwards, watch for the aurora, weather permitting.
   
Accommodations: Sophie Station
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Departure Day
(Saturday, March 13)
   
 Depart From: After breakfast, independent departures from Fairbanks.
 Breakfast: Breakfast in Fairbanks.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

What’s included in this Road Scholar program?



Except for the occasional meal on some programs, Road Scholar programs are all-inclusive. That means there are no extra “options,” no passing the hat for tips and no surprises. From lectures and field trips to gratuities and accommodations – the price you pay up front is the price you pay.

Specifically, this program includes:


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