Lou and I (Sharon) are both retired, and live in Maine full time. We have two somewhat spoiled Cocker Spaniels, and several good friends who help us out with the dogs when we get to travel. At the time this blog was originally written, we had just purchased a house in Maine and were still wintering in Florida. That has since changed, and in 2019 we became full time Maine residents.
Alaska has become one of our favorite travel destinations, and we have made five trips to Alaska, covering 11 different adventures. These adventures include photography workshops at Denali and at Lake Clark National Park (to see bears), as well as a private charter in the Kenai Fjords, and a second two week UnCruise with our kids, grandkids, and friends. This blog is the story of our very first trip to Alaska together (Lou had attended a photography workshop in Denali in 2008). This was only our second cruise, the first being a Disney Cruise with the grandkids. Now on to the details of this adventure.
Lou planned a month long trip to Alaska for us in celebration of my 60th Birthday. Our itinerary included 3 Weeks of Un-Cruising the Inside Passage, and a week long land tour to Denali National Park. Un-Cruise Adventures is the name of the cruise line (UnCruise has since dropped the hyphen in their name, and we will use them interchangeably); we will be cruising on small ships with no more than 76 passengers and 20+ crew members. The style is informal, and the itinerary subject to change depending on what the day brings. The tour Lou chose is called the Ultra Adventure and we started our cruising in Juneau, Alaska. Our vacation was in 2013, starting May 16th, ending June 15th. We Un-Cruised for three weeks, then spent almost another week on a land tour.
The Ultra Adventure lasts 3 weeks, and is actually the combination of 3 different itineraries. This allows some flexibility in how the trip is put together. Lou chose to start in Juneau, Alaska with the Inner Reaches Western Coves tour. This took us to Ketchikan (Alaska – obviously), where we picked up Week 2 – the Inner Reaches Eastern Coves tour. Our final leg, Week 3, took us from Ketchikan to Sitka, with three days in Glacier Bay National Park. Here are the maps covering our itineraries:
The final phase of this trip was a land tour, including a ride on the Alaska RR from Fairbanks to Denali, 3 days in Denali, the Alaska RR to Anchorage, and a one day flight seeing attempt to see bears. We took the long flight home, after being away for almost a month.
This blog covers each week of our trip, and we have attempted to make it easy (or at least possible) for you to navigate to the different sections. Clicking on a post title will let you read about that subject, and you will find a navigation link down at the bottom of the post which will take you to the next post. To get back to the beginning, just click the blog title, “Ultra Alaska, or the “Ultra Alaska -Home” on the top left menu bar, and it will return you to the main page. Advanced users will note there is a drop down menu from Home that will let you pick any segment of the trip.
Whenever you see two or more photos grouped together, you can click on a photo in the gallery to bring up a larger version, and you can also then scroll through the photos in the gallery using the arrows on the sides of the photo. Just click the tiny “x” in the top right corner to exit the gallery. Here is a sample gallery, showing 3 photos; click on any photo to start the slideshow.
We hope you find this travel blog interesting, and perhaps helpful if you are planning a trip to Alaska. Much of the information presented here is still valid in 2021 (the date of the latest blog redo). UnCruise has changed some of their itineraries, and no longer offer the 3 days in Glacier National Park, but there are still many good choices. We have prepared it simply to preserve our memories, and sharing is a bonus. I have had to essentially redo the blog a few times as we have changed hosting sites, and have had to deal with various software upgrades. I am at the point where I think I have spent more time preserving the memories than making them!!!