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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:
3/5/2013 - 3/10/2013;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Denali National Park, Alaska
Price starting at: $1,576.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: On the Road; Natural History Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 15; 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Fat; Low Salt    

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.




Date Specific Information

3-5-2013

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



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
   Westmark Fairbanks
  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

 Westmark Fairbanks
Type: Hotel
  Description: Centrally located downtown Fairbanks; Restaurants and shopping within walking distance; Restaurant on site
  Contact info: 813 Noble Street
Fairbanks, AK 99701 USA
phone: 907-456-7722
web: www.westmarkhotels.com/fairbanks.php
  Room amenities: Free Newspapers, In-room coffee, Iron and Ironing Boards, Hairdryers, Data Ports, HBO/CNN/ESPN
  Facility amenities: Elevators, Interior Corridors, Guest Laundry, Exercise Room, Private Balconies in every guest room, smoking allowed only on balconies.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: Ask for the Road Scholar rate. Contact the hotel directly, let them know you are with the Denali Education Center Road Scholar group. Additional room nights will be reserved for and paid for by participants independently.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Start time: 10am at Westmark Hotel Anchorage. Check-in with program coordinators at any time between 9 - 10am. You will be staying at Swiss-Alaska Inn that night.
  End of Program:
End time: Program ends at 8am (after breakfast is served.) Room checkout is 12pm. You will be staying at Westmark Fairbanks the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Participants must sign and return both the Participant Information & Supplemental forms.
  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:

 

Taxi
Arctic Taxi
phone: 907-455-0000

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$15
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

15 minutes 

   

The Westmark Hotel is at 813 Noble Street between 8th & 9th in downtown Fairbanks.

 

Anchorage

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi
Anchorage Yellow Cab
phone: 907-222-2222

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$20
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

15 minutes from Anchorage airport to course start location 

   

For assistance with airfare arrangements contact Talkeetna Travel at http://www.talkeetnatravel.com/. 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 historic Talkeetna
(Tuesday, March 5)
   
 Arrive To: Gather at the Westmark Anchorage hotel to meet your coordinator and fellow participants. The group will depart for Talkeetna immediately after introductions. Note: We will NOT be staying overnight at the Westmark Anchorage. We will only meet here to board the motor coach for Talkeetna.
 Morning: See the Alaska Range, and possibly even Mt. McKinley, on the journey north to the eclectic mountaineering town of Talkeetna, Alaska.
 Lunch: A local restaurant
 Afternoon: Catch a glimpse of Alaska's frontier history in the town of Talkeetna. This town is known for its commitment to historic preservation and self-determination. Learn about the town's history and historic structures from a local expert.
 Dinner: Twister Creek
 Evening: Learn what it takes to climb to the highest point in North America through a presentation by one of Talkeetna's most respected mountain guides. Afterwards, watch for the aurora, weather permitting.
   
Accommodations: Swiss-Alaska Inn
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 2: Travel through the Alaska Range
(Wednesday, March 6)
   
 Breakfast: Talkeetna Roadhouse (the world-famous local bakery)
 Morning: Visit the Ranger Station to learn more about the logistics of climbing Denali.
 Lunch: En route
 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: Motel Nord Haven
 Evening: A local presenter creates 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: Meet Denali's sled dogs
(Thursday, March 7)
   
 Breakfast: Motel Nord Haven
 Morning: Learn about the sometimes surprising, always extreme, conditions that shape life in Denali and define a subarctic ecosystem in “Welcome to the Subarctic.”
 Lunch: Motel Nord Haven
 Afternoon: Visit working sled dogs and learn about their home life! Be impressed by how well-adapted these dogs are to their wintry world.
 Dinner: Motel Nord Haven
 Evening: Gather round for an evening guest speaker. Afterwards, watch for the aurora, weather permitting.
   
Accommodations: Motel Nord Haven
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Visit the University of Alaska Museum of the North
(Friday, March 8)
   
 Breakfast: Motel Nord Haven
 Morning: Discover the extraordinary animals that call Denali home and learn about their marvelous adaptations to life at high latitudes in “Wildlife of Denali.”
 Morning: Depart for Fairbanks by motor coach
 Lunch: Lunch en route
 Afternoon: Visit the University of Alaska Museum of the North. Encounter Alaska's stories through exhibitions that highlight state history and Alaskan art.
 Dinner: Fairbanks restaurant
 Evening: Free evening
   
Accommodations: Westmark Fairbanks
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: World Ice Art Championship
(Saturday, March 9)
   
 Breakfast: Westmark restaurant
 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: In town
 Afternoon: Visit the magnificent display of ice carvings at the World Ice Art Championships.
 Dinner: Westmark restaurant
 Evening: Program wrap-up. Afterwards, watch for the aurora, weather permitting.
   
Accommodations: Westmark Fairbanks
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Departure Day
(Sunday, March 10)
   
 Depart From: After breakfast, independent departures from Fairbanks.
 Breakfast: Westmark
   
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.

Suggested Reading List


Alaska: History of the 49th State


Author: Claus M. Naske


Arctic Dreams


Author: Barry Lopez


Arctic Village


Author: Robert Marshall


Coming Into the Country


Author: John McPhee


Last New Land


Author: Wayne Mergler


Make Prayers to the Raven


Author: Richard Nelson


Minus 148 Degrees: The First Winter Ascent of Mount McKinley


Author: Art Davidson


Mount McKinley: Conquest of Denali


Author: Bradford Washburn


Ten Thousand Miles With a Dog Sled


Author: Hudson Stuck


The Geology of Denali National Park and Preserve


Author: Michael Collier


The Wilderness of Denali


Author: Charles Sheldon


Two Old Women: An Alaskan Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival


Author: Velma Wallis


Two in the Far North


Author: Margaret Murie




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