17292
Alaska
On the Road Alaska: Barrow, Denali and Kenai Fjords
Explore pristine landscapes and unspoiled wilderness as you journey through the Arctic, learning from Native Peoples, discovering geological wonders and spotting unique wildlife.
Rating (4.29)
Program No. 17292RJ
Length
12 days
Starts at
5,599
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12 days
11 nights
31 meals
11 B 10 L 10 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orienatation, Welcome Dinner
Anchorage, Alaska
D
Anchorage Ramada Inn

Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 3:00 p.m. If you arrive before your room is ready, you may store your luggage at the hotel until check-in is available.

Afternoon: Program Registration: 4:30 p.m. After you have your room assignment, come to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, other important information, and to confirm when and where the Orientation session will take place. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: At a local restaurantl, we’ll have a buffet dinner, plus beverage choices of coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Orientation: 6:30 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Unless otherwise specified, transportation will be provided primarily by motorcoach, which will require ascending/descending a few steps when getting on/off. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Fly to Barrow, Inupiat Heritage Center Field Trip
Barrow, Alaska
B,L,D
Top of the World Hotel

Activity note: This morning we will be flying to Barrow, AK. Minimal walking throughout the day; indoors and outdoors, mostly flat terrain.

Breakfast: Breakfast provided by Anchorage hotel in their dining area.

Morning: This we will be getting up early to make our way to the Anchorage airport for our flight to the Top of the World, Barrow, AK. 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). We arrive in Barrow in the late morning.

Lunch: Lunch in Barrow hotel dining area

Afternoon: Field trip around Barrow and surrounding area 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 near 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. A big highlight is the stop at the Inupiat Heritage Center, which 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. Sometimes there are 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: Buffet dinner at Ilisagvik College cafeteria. Return to our Barrow hotel after dinner.

Evening: Lecture presented by an Inupiat Elder who will talk about the Inupiat culture and their responses and traditions connected to the yearly cycle of life as the seasons change and different resources become available.

DAY
3
U. Alaska Museum North, Geo- Physical Insitute
Fairbanks, Alaska
B,L,D
Springhill Suites by Marriott

Activity note: We will be flying to Fairbanks, AK this morning. Following our flight we will be walking up to a half a mile on mostly flat terrain

Breakfast: At the hotel, we’ll enjoy a breakfast buffet with choices such as eggs, breakfast meats, cereals, fresh fruit, juices, milk, coffee, tea.

Morning: This morning we will have a lecture performed by our Group Leader. Topics will include the arctic tundra, the local flora and fauna, aurora borealis, and all of the amazing wildlife we could see while on this program. Following our lecture we will make our way to the Barrow airport for our flight to Fairbanks, AK.

Lunch: We will have a boxed lunch on our way tot he airport.

Afternoon: After arriving in Fairbanks, AK, we will transfer to the University of Alaska's 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. Following our exploration of the museum we will walk to the University of Alaska Geo-physical Institute where we will learn about the effects that climate change have had on the region, the steps that are being taken to study these effects and the different projects that are being conducted at the university.

Dinner: At a community restaurant , we’ll have a choice of hot plated meals, sandwiches, and salads, plus soft drinks, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Following dinner you will have some free time to explore the area. Our group leader will be providing a nature walk for those participants that would like to contintue to explore the area.

DAY
4
Cultural Center, Alaska Pipeline, Animal research center
Fairbanks, Alaska
B,L,D
Springhill Suites by Marriott

Activity note: This morning we will have minimal walking indoors. Afternoon walking up to half a mile out doors on mainly flat terrain.

Breakfast: Breakfast in the Fairbanks hotel dining room

Morning: This morning we will transfer to the Morris Thompson Cultural Center. he 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 from Asia 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 will be at the Morris Thompson Cultural Center, and will consist of local delicacies enjoyed by Alaskan Natives.

Afternoon: 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. Following our visit to the trans-Alaskan pipeline we will make our way to the Large Animal Research Center. 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.).

Dinner: This dinner has been excluded from the program, and will be on your own. The group leader will be happy to offer suggestions about where to go.

Evening: This evening you will have free time to explore the area.

DAY
5
Morris Thompson Ctr., U-Alaska Large Animal Rsch. Center
Denali Park Area
B,L,D
Denali Grizzly Bear Resort

Activity note: We will have a 2 hour bus ride to the entrance of Denali National Park. Optional walking around the area of 1-2 miles.

Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining area.

Morning: Following breakfast we will board our coach to make our way to the entrance of Denali National Park.

Lunch: Denali National Park Cafeteria.

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. You will also have the chance to accompany our Group Leader to see the park dog sledding kennel and watch a demonstration of the process. Following our exploration of the area we will check in to our hotel at the Denali Grizzly Bear Lodge.

Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.

Evening: This evening will be at your leisure. If you choose to you can accompany your Group Leader on a nature walk through the area.

DAY
6
Morning hike, Denali National Park
Kantishna, Alaska
B,L,D
Kantishna Roadhouse

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles on even surfaces. Bus ride of up to 90 miles into the heart of Denali National Park.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: This morning our Group Leader will provide a morning lecture about the local flora and fuana, and all that we will see while in Denali National Park. Following our lecture we will set of on a hike around horseshoe lake. This beautiful lake is know for its bio-diversity, and amazing views.

Lunch: Lunch at a cafe in Denali National Park

Afternoon: This afternoon we will 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, a chance to pan for gold, take a bike ride or do some fishing with info and equipment provided by the staff of the lodge.

Dinner: Dinner at Kantishna Resort.

Evening: This evening we will go over the procedures for the next two days, and the Group Leader will be providing a lecture on life in Alaska.

DAY
7
Free time at Kantishna Roadhouse
Kantishna, Alaska
B,L,D
Kantishna Roadhouse

Activity note: This will depend on what activities you choose to do.

Breakfast: Breakfast at Kantishna Roadhouse.

Morning: Free morning. Sign up for various levels of hikes with experienced guides. Or just rest and relax in beautiful surroundings.

Lunch: Lunch at Kantishna Resort. Or you may pack a sack lunch if you are on a long hike.

Afternoon: Continue to explore Denali national Park.

Dinner: Dinner at the Kantishna resort

Evening: Kantishna Roadhouse offers a lecture series on various topics about Alaska and her people, presented by knowledgeable local Alaskans

DAY
8
Free Time in Denali National Park
Kantishna, Alaska
B,L,D
Kantishna Roadhouse

Activity note: This will depend on what activities you choose to do.

Breakfast: Breakfast at Kantishna Resort.

Morning: Free morning. Sign up for various levels of hikes with experienced guides. Or just rest and relax in beautiful surroundings.

Lunch: Lunch in the resort dining area. Or you may pack a sack lunch if you are on a long hike.

Afternoon: Continue to explore Denali National Park.

Dinner: Dinner at Kantishna resort.

Evening: Kantishna Roadhouse offers a lecture series on various topics about Alaska and her people, presented by knowledgeable local Alaskans. The Group Leader will review the transfer procedures for the following morning.

DAY
9
Drive Back Through the Park, Board Bus to Anchorage
Anchorage, Alaska
B,L,D
Anchorage Ramada Inn

Activity note: Today we will drive 320 miles south to Anchorage, AK.

Breakfast: Breakfast at Kantishna resort.

Morning: This morning we will rise early and begin to make our way to Anchorage. 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: Boxed lunch.

Afternoon: Drive to Anchorage, Alaska's largest city.

Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant in Anchoarge

Evening: Group Leader will review the procedures for our ride on the infamous Alaska Railroad, as we make our way to Seward, AK.

DAY
10
Alaska Railroad to Seward, Alaska Sea Life Ctr. Field Trip
Seward, Alaska
B,L
Windsong Lodge

Breakfast: Breakfast on the Alaska Railroad

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 in Alaska.

Lunch: Lunch at the Alaska Sea Life Center.

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 researchers from all over America and beyond. Following our exploration of the Alaska Sea Life Center, our Group Leader will conduct a lecture on the different type of animals we may see on the following day, and lesson about the formation of glaciers.

Dinner: Dinner on your own. There are a number of excellent restaurants in Seward. You could also dine at our resort the Windsong Lodge. We will help with suggestions for where to eat.

Evening: At your leisure.

DAY
11
Exit Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park
Seward, Alaska
B,L,D
Windsong Lodge

Breakfast: Breakfast at our Seward hotel

Morning: Field trip to Exit Glacier, part of Kenai Fjords National Park. Hike along flat paved and gravel paths to view the glacier. The Group Leader will provide insight 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 on the Kenai Fjords National Park boat trip. Set lunch of a chicken wrap, raw carrots and celery and a cookie. Vegetarian option available.

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.

Dinner: At the Windsong Lodge, we’ll enjoy a tasty buffet farewell dinner featuring seasonal, regional cuisine with salad, and dessert, plus a complimentary coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Reminisce about all of the amazing sights we have seen throughout this program.

DAY
12
Program Concludes
Anchorage, Alaska
B

Activity note: This morning we will transfer aboard a coach back 126 miles back to Anchorage.

Breakfast: At the Windsong Lodge the buffet will include menu choices such as eggs, breakfast meats, potatoes, yogurt, French toast, juice, coffee, tea and water. This concludes our program.

Morning: This morning we will make our way back to Anchorage aboard our coach.If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program.Road Scholar will provide transfers to the airport or the hotel where you will be staying We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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