Alaska at A Glance, Part 2.

Water Taxi in VictoriaOur guest post and monthly column comes from Howard Hian who was recently awarded a Gold Medal/First Place Award from the North American Travel Journalists Association’s annual international writing contest.  

More Alaska at a Glance and Travel Tips – Summer is tourist season in Alaska. Whether you are traveling to our 49th. state by plane, car, ferry, train or cruise ship, here’s a quick look at some destinations and a few ideas of what to pack.

Kodiak – Take a scenic drive along the lush Chiniak Highway with Kodiak Island Van Tours.  There are panoramic views of the ocean, bays, rivers and, sometimes, bears and other wildlife.  The 80 mile roundtrip excursion includes stops along the way at Pasagshak Bay and Narrow Cape.  At the mid-point of the trip there is a lunch stop at Olds River Inn.

Sitka – Another rip-roaring escapade is the four-hour Kruzof Island 4×4 Wilderness Adventure tour.  First, there is a boat ride around the islands in Sitka Sound to the destination.  Next, drive a Yamaha Rhino through the rain forest for the first stop at the Iris Meadows Estuary. Finally, off through magnificent old-growth forests to the black sand North Beach for beverages, snacks and a photo op before heading back to town.

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada – This is the only non-Alaska locale to report on and it is a good one. The Grand City Drive & Empress High Tea bus tour takes you through several exclusive neighborhoods and along Marine Drive to Mt.Tolmie for a view of the city.  After that, back to the historic Empress Hotel for an elegant high tea. For a completely dissimilar outing, don’t miss the pub crawl available via the water-taxis of Victoria; it is an unusual, highly enjoyable escapade.

Travel Products – Smart travelers’ mantra is “pack light and wear layers.”  Magellan’s packable rain jacket/windbreaker fits that description.  Keen’s Denver Canvas from their Boulevard Collection was my choice for casual footwear and Ambler Mesh from their Trailhead Selection was perfect for hiking. Their right/left marked socks are perfect companions to the shoes.  Headwear is a travel necessity, more so in Alaska; sun, rain and/or cold.  Two models from Tilley, accompanied me; the Outback hat and the TTMC cap – both did their job. On the plane, Magellan’s noise cancelling headset kept engine and passenger sounds to a minimum.

Safe travels and enjoy the journey…

Howard Hian

Thanks to the various websites for information, etc.