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On the Road: Ultimate Alaska North — Arctic Landscapes, Regal Denali and Kenai Fjords National Park

Program Number: 17292RJ
Start and End Dates:
8/3/2013 - 8/14/2013; 6/17/2015 - 6/28/2015; 7/21/2015 - 8/1/2015; 8/4/2015 - 8/15/2015; 8/19/2015 - 8/30/2015;
Duration: 11 nights
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
Price starting at: $4,995.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: On the Road; National Parks
Meals: 30; 11 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 9 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Fly, bus, train and sail 1,100 miles through the Last Frontier. Fly to Barrow for a look at how Inupiat Eskimos live off land and sea and to celebrate the summer solstice. Watch the sun wheel around the sky, never setting below the horizon. Meet research scientists, take a field trip to see muskoxen, caribou and reindeer at the University of Alaska Fairbanks large animal research center and stand underneath the Alaska Pipeline. Spend two nights at the end of the road deep in the heart of Denali National Park, then take the Alaska Railroad to Seward’s Alaska SeaLife Center, where researchers share their work rehabilitating the ecosystem after the Exxon Valdez oil spill.




Highlights

• In Denali scout for moose, Dall sheep, wolves, bears and more.
• Ride the rails to the “land of ice” and study the ice ages, volcanic forces and rising and falling sea levels.
• Watch for whales, otters and puffins from a ship in Kenai Fjords National Park.



Activity Particulars

Walk short distances, uneven terrain. Optional hikes. Standing about one hour. Sailing on the open ocean during a four-hour field trip in Seward.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Fairbanks, 2 nights; fly to Barrow, 1 night; fly to Fairbanks, 1 night; train and coach to Denali National Park, 3 nights; coach to Anchorage, 1 night; train to Seward, 2 nights; departure.



Coordinated by Denakkanaaga.




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.



Anchorage

Situated between boreal forest, tundra, temperate rainforest and a marine environment, Anchorage was established when the Alaska Railroad was constructed to connect the interior with the coast. The area is home to almost half the state’s population. 



Seward

Situated at the head of Resurrection Bay on the Kenai Peninsula, Seward is one of Alaska’s oldest and most picturesque communities. Founded in 1903, it is named for William H. Seward, the Secretary of State who negotiated the purchase of Alaska (originally derided as “Seward’s Folly”). Seward serves as a gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park.



Barrow

Barrow is the northernmost city in the U.S. and one of the northernmost in the world — 4,212 hearty souls, the majority of them Inupiat Eskimos, live here, 320 miles north of the Arctic Circle. In mid-November, the sun sets on Barrow and does not rise above the horizon again for 65 days. The city is home to a National Weather Service Office.



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.



Accommodations
Fairbanks: Hotel. Barrow:Hotel. Denali: Cabin and backcountry lodge. Anchorage and Seward: Hotel.
Meals and Lodgings
   Springhill Suites
  Fairbanks, Alaska 2 nights
   Ilisagvik College/Barrow Arctic Science Consortium
  Barrow, Alaska 1 night
   Springhill Suites
  Fairbanks, Alaska 2 nights
   Denali River Cabins
  Denali National Park area, Alaska 1 night
   Kantishna Roadhouse
  Kantishna, Alaska 2 nights
   Anchorage Ramada Inn
  Anchorage, Alaska 1 night
   Breeze Inn
  Seward, Alaska 3 nights
 Springhill Suites
Type: Hotel
  Description: In Fairbanks we are staying in one of the newest and fanciest hotels in town. The hotel is located in the heart of downtown Fairbanks overlooking the banks of the Chena River. Shops, museums, restaurants, small museums and historical sites are all within easy walking distance.
  Contact info: 575 First Avenue
Fairbanks, AK 99701 USA
phone: 907-451-6552
web: www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/faish-springhill-suites-fairbanks/
  Room amenities: All rooms are suites. Queen beds or better. Sofa, armchair, desk, mini-fridge, coffee maker, hair dryer, ironing board, television with cable, desk, and free high-speed internet access are available.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: $156 per night, plus an 8% tax If you want to arrive early or stay over after the program ends, the Springhill Suites is offering a special Road Scholar rate. BASED UPON AVAILABILITY, the cost for a room is $156 per night, plus an 8% city bed tax. To make reservations, you may either call Becky Brown at 907-273-3724 or make the reservation through e-mail. The address for e-mail is rebecca.brown@nmsusa.com. Be sure to mention that you are with the Fairbanks Road Scholar program when making your reservation.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 Ilisagvik College/Barrow Arctic Science Consortium
Type: Campus/Dorm
  Description: Iisagvik College and the Barrow Arctic Science Consortium are located on the same "campus". We will be living with the students of Barrow and the visiting researchers of the consortium. This is a rare opportunity to spend time with the people who choose to live on the top of North America.
  Contact info: 100 Stevenson Street
Barrow, AK 99723 USA
phone: 907-852-3333
web: webspace.ilisagvik.cc/
  Room amenities: Large, airy rooms with bureaus and closets.
  Facility amenities: Classrooms and dining hall on site. Computer access.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Bathroom: Commodes and showers down the hall. Separate men and women's facilities.
  Elevators available: Yes

 Denali River Cabins
Type: Other
  Description: Complex of rustic cabins on the banks of the Nenana River.
  Contact info: Mile 231.1 Parks Highway
Denali Park, AK 99755 USA
phone: 800-230-7275
web: denalirivercabins.com
  Room amenities: Television, telephone, alarm clock.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant and gift shop on premises
  Smoking allowed: No

 Kantishna Roadhouse
Type: Lodge
  Description: Remote luxury lodge located in in the heart of Denali National Park. Stay in small log cabins.
  Contact info: Mile 97 Denali Park Road
Kantishna, AK 99755 USA
phone: 800-230-7275
web: www.kantishnaroadhouse.com/
  Room amenities: Full private bath, climate controls, alarm clock.
  Facility amenities: Activity center, library, book shop, gift shop, saloon.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Anchorage Ramada Inn
Type: Hotel
  Description: Excellent location in downtown Anchorage
  Contact info: 115 E. Third Street
Anchorage, AK 99501 USA
phone: 907-272-7561
web: www.ramada.com/Ramada/control/Booking/property_info?propertyId=14614
  Room amenities: Television, wireless internet access.
  Facility amenities: Fitness center, business center.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Breeze Inn
Type: Hotel
  Description: Located right in the heart of downtown Seward, overlooking the small boat harbor.
  Contact info: 1306 Seward Highway
Seward, AK 99664 USA
phone: 907-224-5237
web: www.breezeinn.com/index.php
  Room amenities: Private bathroom, television, telephones, desk
  Facility amenities: Dining room and lounge
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Check out time: 11:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
6:00 p.m.at Springhill Suites in Fairbanks, Alaska You will be staying at Springhill Suites that night.
  End of Program:
9:00 a.m. at Breeze Inn in Seward, Alaska You will be staying at Breeze Inn the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Participants are required to sign a release from Denakkanaaga to participate in this program.
  Parking availability:
Free parking at Springhill. Get permit from desk. NOTE: THE FREE PARKING APPLIES ONLY FOR THE DAYS YOU ARE STAYING AT THAT HOTEL. For the rest of the trip, we are on trains or planes or buses and a car is not appropriate.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Fairbanks, Alaska
  Nearest city or town:  Nenana, Alaska
  Nearest highway: Parks, Steese, Elliot, Alaska Highway
  Nearest airport:  Fairbanks International
  From End of Program
  Location:  Seward, Alaska
  Nearest city or town:  Anchorage
  Nearest highway: Seward Highway
  Nearest airport:  Anchorage International
Travel Details
 

Fairbanks

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle
phone: 907-451-6552

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Free
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

15-20 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

4 miles

   

If the shuttle is not available, the hotel will arrange for a taxi to get you and they will pay for it. THE HOTEL HAS TO ARRANGE AND AUTHORIZE THIS. DO NOT TAKE A TAXI WITHOUT TALKING TO THE HOTEL FIRST OR YOU WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYING FOR IT.

 

Fairbanks

 

From Train Station

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle
phone: 907-451-6552

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Free
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

10 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

Under 2 miles

   

If the shuttle is not available, the hotel will arrange for a taxi to get you and they will pay for it. THE HOTEL HAS TO ARRANGE AND AUTHORIZE THIS. DO NOT TAKE A TAXI WITHOUT TALKING TO THE HOTEL FIRST OR YOU WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FARE.

 
Driving Directions
  Airport Leave airport on Airport Road. (The only way out of the airport.) Drive east about 4 miles to Cushman Street. Turn left unto Cushman. Turn right at 1st Avenue. Hotel is on the corner.
Equipment Requirements: Good sturdy walking shoes or light hiking boots. Rain gear.
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: Dinner/Welcome
(Saturday, August 3)
   
 Arrive To: Dinner in local restaurant
 Evening: Welcome to the program by Road Scholar staff.
   
Accommodations: Springhill Suites

Day 2: Field trip to the University of Alaska Museum of the North/Field trip on the Chena River on the Riverboat Discovery
(Sunday, August 4)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel breakfast room
 Morning: Field trip to the University of Alaska Museum of the North. The museum is a world renowned circumpolar research center with extensive collections and information gathered from current and past scientific expeditions in Alaska, America's only arctic state. The museum offers exhibits on Native culture, post-contact history, geology, fauna, flora, the gold rush, the pipeline, the Aurora, plus rotating art and photo exhibits, all housed in a beautiful and striking architectural gem. Special emphasis on Arctic and Sub-Arctic ecology and environment and the people who inhabit this northern edge of our world.
 Lunch: Lunch included.
 Afternoon: Members of a family that has been captaining riverboats since the beginning of the last century share their knowledge of the river with their passengers. Stop on the banks of the Chena River where you will learn about traditional Native arts and crafts, food preservation, dog-mushing, aviation and life in the far north.
 Dinner: Dinner included.
   
Accommodations: Springhill Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Flight to Barrow, the northern-most community in the United States. Field trip to Inupiat Heritage Center
(Monday, August 5)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast included.
 Morning: Barrow is the largest Native village in Alaska. It has a population of about 4,000 people and 65% of the population are Inupiat (commonly known as Eskimo by non Inupiat people). Ilisagvik College is a unique, two year accredited college whose mission is to provide an education based on the Inupiat cultural heritage. We will have a presentation on the history, the goals and the future plans for America's northernmost college. The Barrow Arctic Science Consortium shares the buildings with the college. We will have a lecture/ orientation on the research they are working on and the logistics of supporting a research project on and in the environment of the isolated Arctic Coast and surrounding areas.
 Lunch: Lunch included.
 Afternoon: The Inupiat Heritage Center is managed by the Alaska North Slope Borough and is affiliated with the National Park Service and the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The center has exhibits on the culture and traditions of the Inupiat people of Alaska. There are often presentations by Inupiat Elders. Topics vary, but most focus on Inupiat traditions, the collection and use of resources and the art of the people. There are often demonstrations on creating both art and functional goods that were necessary to sustain life. Sometimes there are singers and dancers who talk about their culture and the meaning of the dances they do.
 Dinner: Dinner included.
   
Accommodations: Ilisagvik College/Barrow Arctic Science Consortium
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: All day field trip around Barrow and surrounding area.
(Tuesday, August 6)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast included.
 Morning: All day field trip around Barrow and surroundings with a local guide who has extensive knowledge of the city, the people and the history of Barrow. The field trip includes stops at the Wiley Post/Will Rogers memorial, an archeological site containing ancient sod houses and a ride out to the end of the road at Point Barrow, where, weather permitting, we can see the northernmost point of the United States on the (roadless) spit of land that continues to the north.
 Lunch: Lunch
 Afternoon: Field trip continues.
 Dinner: Dinner included.
 Evening: Return flight to Fairbanks.
   
Accommodations: Springhill Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Field trips to Morris Thompson Cultural Center, the University of Alaska Large Animal Research Center and the Alaska pipeline.
(Wednesday, August 7)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast included.
 Morning: Road Scholar is hosted in Fairbanks by Denakkanaaga. Denakkanaaga is a non-profit educational organization founded by the local Athabascan Elders of the indigenous tribe of the vast Interior of Alaska and Canada. Denakkanaaga is housed in the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitor's Center. The center has exhibits and dioramas on the people of Interior Alaska and the ecosystem we live in, with a focus on Athabascan life in the past and in the present. The Alaska Public Lands Information Center, a storehouse of information and exhibits on the public lands in Alaska, is also located in the same building, as is the Fairbanks Visitors and Convention Bureau. We will have access to films and possibly presentations from their staff. Walk around downtown and check out the Ice Art Museum, featuring a video on carving the ice sculptures for the March Fairbanks Winter Carnival World Ice Art Championship. The museum includes actual ice sculptures shown in a refrigerated case. The Fairbanks City Museum is also downtown, along with statues commemorating the "first family" to cross the Bering Land Bridge into the Americas. There is another set of statues nearby commemorating the Lend Lease program, when the American government was flying planes up to Alaska and then on into Russia to support the Allies during world war II. There are also history plaques about Fairbanks and Alaska and beautiful flowers in Golden Heart Plaza on the banks of the Chena River.
 Lunch: Lunch included.
 Afternoon: Field trip to the Large Animal Research Station. The research station is a branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Institute of Arctic Biology. Studies of the large ungulates of the Arctic, the musk-oxen, caribou and reindeer, have been ongoing for decades. A researcher or station guide will talk about the biology of the animals and the ecosystems they inhabit. A strong focus is on the different adaptations that the species have made to the same environment. Life cycles and survival strategies will be explained. Pelts, skulls, antlers and horns will be available for hands-on examination and study. One of the highlights of this field trip is the opportunity to see and learn about the musk-oxen. In the same way that seeing giraffes and zebras in the wild indicates you are in Africa, the musk ox is an iconic emblem of the Arctic-you could see bears, wolves and whales in their natural habitats in many other places in the world, but if you want to see musk-oxen in their natural habitat, you must travel to the Arctic. (And have a bit of luck while you're here.) Field trip to the Alaska pipeline. The approximately 800 mile pipeline crosses three mountain ranges and is built on permanently frozen ground in the north and areas of active earthquake activity in the south. These challenges led to the creation of cutting edge technology to try to overcome these obstacles. The Alaska pipeline is one of the great engineering feats of the 20th century.
 Dinner: Dinner included.
   
Accommodations: Springhill Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Travel to Denali National Park on the Alaska Railroad.
(Thursday, August 8)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast included.
 Morning: Take the Alaska Railroad south from Fairbanks to Denali National Park
 Lunch: Lunch included.
 Afternoon: Field trip to the "Front Country" of Denali National Park. Explore the visitor's center, the Murie Science Center and the Alaska Geographic book store. Optional hikes through the woods either on your own or join in with the daily park ranger hike.
 Dinner: Dinner included.
   
Accommodations: Denali River Cabins
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Drive 90 miles into Denali National Park.
(Friday, August 9)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast included.
 Morning: Drive 90 miles into the wilderness of Denali National Park in a school bus to Kantishna Roadhouse. Kantishna is one of only three hotels in the park and has been "grandfathered" to have the right to have guests stay there. It was part of the Kantishna mining operations in the early 20th century. The bus drivers are usually very knowledgeable guides who will teach you about the ecosystem of the park, its flora, fauna, geology, history and topography. Once at the lodge, you may sign up for various hikes, van rides, lectures, walks and lectures, provided by the staff of the lodge.
 Lunch: Lunch included.
 Afternoon: Continue trip to Kantishna.
 Dinner: Dinner included.
   
Accommodations: Kantishna Roadhouse
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Free time to enjoy being in the heart of Denali National Park
(Saturday, August 10)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast included.
 Morning: Free morning. Hike in the park. Or just rest and relax in beautiful surroundings.
 Lunch: Lunch included.
 Afternoon: Kantishna Roadhouse offers a lecture series on various topics about Alaska and her people, presented by knowledgeable local Alaskans.
 Dinner: Dinner included.
   
Accommodations: Kantishna Roadhouse
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Drive back through the park, board bus for trip to Anchorage.
(Sunday, August 11)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast included.
 Morning: This is a LOOOONG day. We leave Kantishna at 5:30 a.m. to return to the front country of the park. We take about an hour or so rest stop at the train station. Then we board a bus to drive to Anchorage. We use a bus because it's faster than the train. If we used the train, we'd get into Anchorage around 8:30 p.m. or later. Using a bus, we get in to Anchorage in the late afternoon and have time for dinner and a quiet evening. The next morning we have to leave the Anchorage hotel at 5:30 a.m. to catch the train to Seward. Whew...
 Lunch: Lunch included.
 Afternoon: Drive to Anchorage, Alaska's largest city.
 Dinner: Dinner included.
   
Accommodations: Anchorage Ramada Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Alaska Railroad to Seward/Field trip to the Alaska Sea Life Center
(Monday, August 12)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast included.
 Morning: Take the Alaska Railroad south through spectacular scenery along the shores of Cook Inlet to Seward on the Kenai Peninsula. The stunning beauty of this trip is one of the best kept secrets of Alaska.
 Lunch: Lunch included.
 Afternoon: Field trip to the Alaska Sea Life Center, a cutting edge marine research facility. The center has ongoing research projects and exhibits on the marine life of the South Central northern Pacific shores of Alaska. We will have classes on ongoing research and a behind the scenes tour of the facility. The Alaska Sea Life Center is one of the few good things that came out of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. Money from damages assessed by the state on Exxon was used to start up the research center. One special focus was to study the long term effects of the oil spill on the people, the animals and the land of South Central Alaska. The center has become an excellent research facility, drawing students from all over America and some international students also.
 Dinner: Dinner included.
   
Accommodations: Breeze Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Field trip to Exit Glacier. Field trip on boat into Kenai Fjords National Park.
(Tuesday, August 13)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast
 Morning: Field trip to Exit Glacier, part of Kenai Fjords National Park. Hike with a park ranger along flat paved and gravel paths to view the glacier. The ranger will lecture on glaciers and ice ages and environmental changes. Optional hike up a fairly steep hill for more views and an overlook of the face of the glacier.
 Lunch: Lunch
 Afternoon: Board a boat in Seward and sail out into beautiful Resurrection Bay and the Kenai Fjords National Park. Resurrection Bay was named by the Russians, who "discovered" the bay on Easter Sunday ("Resurrection" being their designation for "Easter".) On just about every trip we see seals, walruses, otters, numerous birds, including some puffin varieties and sometimes whales, set against a backdrop of magnificent glaciers. We will sail close to a glacier and hopefully will witness some calving while we're at a safe distance offshore.
   
Accommodations: Breeze Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 12: Program ends in Seward after breakfast.
(Wednesday, August 14)
   
 Depart From: The program ends in Seward after breakfast. You are responsible for making your own departure arrangements from Seward. But in the past, we have taken a count of the number of people who wanted to return to Anchorage the day the program ended. In every program we've run so far, we had enough people to arrange a charter bus that would leave Seward at a convenient time and place for us and would drop us at the Anchorage airport and then continue to downtown Anchorage. In the information packet we will send you after you enroll, there will be a question on your health form asking if you are interested in sharing a bus with the group. The price will depend upon the number of people sharing the cost. In the past, it's been about $55 per person. Shuttle information for those making their own arrangements: Parks Connection. www.alaskacoach.com 800-266-8625. Depart Seward 10:30 a.m. arrive Anchorage 1:30 p.m. $65. Depart Seward 6:30 p. m. arrive Anchorage 9:30 p.m. $55. I just found a new (to us) service that might work for some of you. Seward Alaska Shuttle Bus Service and Tours www.sewardalaskabus.com/ 888-257-8527 Departs Seward 8:30-9:00am. Arrives Anchorage 11:30am Departs Seward 4:30-5:00pm arrives Anchorage 7:30pm. This company runs shuttles to accommodate cruise ship passengers. They only run Friday and Sunday. Depending upon the day and the number of people they have scheduled on the shuttle, the price starts at about $40 and rises from there IF YOU ARE FLYING OUT OF ANCHORAGE THE SAME DAY YOU ARE LEAVING SEWARD, DO NOT MAKE PLANE RESERVATIONS BEFORE 4:00PM. As an alternative to returning to Anchorage, some people take the Alaska Railroad back to Anchorage at 6:00pm, some take a cruise out of Seward back to the lower 48 and some just hang around Seward for a while and return to Anchorage on a regular shuttle to fly home another day.
 Breakfast: Breakfast
   
Accommodations: Breeze Inn
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.


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