Denali Special

September 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Alaska Travel Updates

Denali Package Special

Great Alaska Travel Adventure highly recommends this trip.

Beautiful Day at Denali

Beautiful Day at Denali

Get a two-night package to Denali Park in Alaska, home of Mt. McKinley, the highest peak in North America, includes lodging at either the McKinley Chalet Resort or McKinley Village Lodge, as well as a “Tundra Wilderness” tour and the DVD set. There is also an option to purchase round-trip train tickets aboard the “Alaska Railroad Gold Star Service” from Anchorage or Fairbanks by calling 866-761-6631.

The package starts at $799 and is available between May 13 and Sept. 13; it must be booked by April 30.

Alaska Airlines Expands Texas Service With Seattle-Austin Flights Starting 8/3/09

August 3, 2009 by  
Filed under Alaska News

Airline to add San Jose-Austin and Seattle-Houston daily nonstops in September

Alaska Airlines is expanding its service to the Lone Star State with new daily flights between Seattle and Austin, Texas, starting today and daily service between San Jose, Calif., and Austin commencing Sept. 2. The airline also will offer daily Seattle-Houston nonstops beginning Sept. 23.

“Alaska Airlines has been serving Dallas/Fort Worth from Seattle since 2005, and we’re excited to be adding Austin to our network starting today,” said Andrew Harrison, Alaska’s vice president of planning and revenue management.

Referring to the airline’s upcoming Houston service and San Jose-Austin flight, which will originate in Portland, Ore., Harrison said, “Come fall, Alaska Airlines will not only serve three Texas cities nonstop from Seattle, we’ll also restore convenient service to high-tech business travelers commuting between Austin, the Silicon Valley and Portland.”

Summary of new flights

    Start date  City pair          Departure time  Arrival time  Day of week

    Aug. 3      Seattle-Austin     9:45 a.m.       3:40 p.m.     Daily
    Aug. 3      Austin-Seattle     4:40 p.m.       6:45 p.m.     Daily
    Sept. 2     Portland-San Jose  6:20 a.m.       8:10 a.m.     Daily,
                                                                  except Sun
    Sept. 2     San Jose-Austin    8:55 a.m.       2:15 p.m.     Daily
    Sept. 2     Austin-San Jose    3 p.m.          4:40 p.m.     Daily
    Sept. 2     San Jose-Portland  5:25 p.m.       7:10 p.m.     Daily,
                                                                  except Sat
    Sept. 23    Seattle-Houston    9 a.m.          3:20 p.m.     Daily
    Sept. 23    Houston-Seattle    4:30 p.m.       7:05 p.m.     Daily

    All times based on local time zones

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members can earn double miles on the new flights between Seattle and Austin through Oct. 15, 2009, between San Jose and Austin through Oct. 31, 2009, and between Seattle and Houston through Nov. 23, 2009. To qualify, customers must first register at

Alaska Airlines will operate the flights with Boeing 737-800 aircraft, accommodating 16 passengers in first class and 141 in the main cabin. Seattle-Austin, San Jose-Austin and Seattle-Houston flights will offer Alaska’s Northern Bites meals-for-purchase service, which allows coach passengers to buy a meal onboard for $6. Inflight service also will include Alaska Airlines’ digEplayer, a personal entertainment system offering a variety of movies, television shows, music and other features. Complimentary in first class, digEplayers are available for $6 in coach.

The new flights are available at or by calling (800) ALASKAAIR (800-252-7522 or TTY/TDD line 800-392-0228).

Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, subsidiaries of Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK), together serve more than 90 cities through an expansive network in Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico. Alaska Airlines ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction among Traditional Network Carriers” in the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 and 2009 North America Airline Satisfaction Studies(SM). For reservations, visit For more news and information, visit the Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air Newsroom at

SOURCE Alaska Airlines

Alaska Trivia

July 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Alaska Trivia

Native Alaskan Folk Tale

The story of Sleeping Lady has traveled by word of mouth throughout the region since at least the 1930’s. The source of the original story is unknown. Here is the folktale retold by Ann Dixon, a librarian at the Willow Public Library in Willow, Alaska.

Once, long ago in Alaska, there lived a race of giant people along the shores of Cook Inlet.

The land then was warm and covered with fruit trees of every kind.

Woolly mammoths and saber-toothed tigers roamed the forests and beaches but did not harm the gentle Inlet people.

Peace and happiness ruled the land.

Especially happy were a young man named Nekatla and a young woman named Susitna, for they were in love and soon to be married.

As the wedding day neared, the Inlet people eagerly prepared for the celebration. But the day before the wedding a stranger burst into the village. “Danger!” he cried. “Warriors from the north are coming! They roam from village to village, killing people, stealing from them, and burning their homes!” “Stranger, how do you know this?” someone asked. The man’s face clouded with pain. “They have destroyed my village, my family…everything,” he answered. “Only I escaped. Beware, these people are cruel and crazed for blood!”

All plans for the wedding were forgotten.

The villagers gathered in council. First one person spoke then another. Some thought they should quickly fashion weapons and attack the warriors. Others thought they should prepare to fight the warriors when they came to the village. Still others wanted to hide in the forest until the warriors passed them by.

Nekatla and Susitna listened in silence their hearts deeply troubled.

After everyone had spoken, Nekatla rose. “I, too, have an idea,” he began. “But I do not know if there are people here brave enough to go with me. I say this: I will not fight these people and neither should you. We have few weapons, for we gave up the ways of war long ago. We’ve learned a better way, which is peace.”

Many of the people nodded their heads in agreement. “Continue,” the elders encouraged him. “I will not run away from this danger, for then the warriors will kill many more. This is my proposal: we travel north to meet them. We convince them to lay down their weapons and live in peace. We will carry gifts rather than weapons so they’ll have no reason to attack us. “And I am willing to go first.” It was a bold plan but the people agreed to it. All the men of the vilage would go. Immediately everyone began preparing for the dangerous journey north. By morning the men were ready to leave. Sadly, Susitna and Nekatla said goodbye on a hill above the village where they had spent many hours together.

“We will be married as soon as I return.” promised Nekatla. “I will wait for you at this very spot,” answered Susitna.

Susitna watched thoughtfully, hopefully, until the forms of the men disappeared into the forested mountains.

Susitna made ready to wait. She ran back to the village for her needles, knife, and baskets, then busied herself gathering nuts and berries.

On the second day she tired of gathering fruit, so she cut roots and grasses to weave into baskets. This task amused her for many hours, but eventually she tired of making baskets, too.

Susitna spent the third day sewing, for she was too weary to gather fruit and cut grasses. Yet she could not sleep, wondering if the men had succeeded in their mission.

Perhaps Nekatla would return at any moment!

But many days and nights went by, each more slowly than the last. Finally Susitna could no longer pick berries, weave baskets, or even sew. “I will lie down just for a moment,” she said finally. And she fell fast asleep. While Susitna slept, word of a terrible battle reached her village. “Nekatla was brave.” reported a boy who had escaped. “He led our men to meet with the warriors. But as he and their leader were about to speak, someone threw a spear! Their men set upon ours and we fought until all our men were dead or dying, and many of theirs, too.” The women and children wept to hear the names of the fathers, sons, and brothers they had lost.

When the women went to tell Susitna the terrible news, they couldn’t bear to wake her from such peaceful sleep. Let her rest, they decided. Why break her heart any sooner than we must? And they wove a blanket of soft grasses and wildflower blossom, which they gently laid over her. May Susitna always dream of her lover, they prayed.

That night all warmth and joy left the village. As the air grew colder and colder, Susitna settled more deeply into sleep.

All around her, the fruit trees froze and died, falling like the men in battle.

The tears of the villagers gathered into clouds and, in the chill air, returned to earth as Alaska’s first snowfall.

The snow fell slowly at first, one flake at a time, but soon it filled the sky, spreading thickly across the entire land.

For seven days and nights the snow fell, until Susitna and all her people lay beneath a blanket of shimmering white.

Days passed into years, and years into hundreds and thousands of years.

For a few months each summer, warmth returned to the land, allowing birch trees and spruce and willow to grow.

Grizzly bears, moose, and other new animals appeared, taking the place of the old. After a long time a new race of humans, smaller than the first, came to stay. Today Susitna still sleeps through the seasons, dreaming of Nekatla.

If you look across Cook Inlet in the winter, you can see her covered by a snowy quilt.

In summer, you see her resting beneath a green and flowered blanket.

It is said that when the people of war change their ways peace rules the earth, Nekatla will return.

Then Susitna, the Sleeping Lady, will awake.

Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) are Charged particles striking gas particles in the atmosphere.

The oldest documented site of human habitation in the U.S is in Alaska.

Grizzly Bears in Denali National Park are primarily vegetarians.


Calender of Events

July 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Calender Of Events

Seward Silver Salmon Derby-Seward, Alaska  8/8/09-8/16/09

Alaska State Fair-Palmer, Alaska  8/27/09-9/7/09

Battle Of The Bands-Alaska State Fair  9/2/09  7:30 pm

Hunting Season Opens for several species in several Units-Check Alaska Fish and Game

Alaska Fall Colors start in mid Septemberand only last about 10-14 days.

Alaska's Fall Beauty

Alaska's Fall Beauty

Glacier Discovery Train

July 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Alaska Travel Updates

A Ride on the Glacier Discovery

glacier-discovery-trainThe Alaska Railroad has several different daily routes that passenger trains are operated on throughout the summer season.  One of the least well known is the Glacier Discovery train which travels a circular route between Anchorage, Whittier, and the Spencer – Grandview area within Chugach National Forest.  The Glacier Discovery originates and ends in Anchorage, but passengers can also board the train in Girdwood, Portage, Whittier, Spencer, or Grandview.  A return trip from Portage to Anchorage by motorcoach is available for those passengers who have traveled up to Spencer/Grandview for the day.  This is a nice feature as it returns you back to the Anchorage Depot about 2 ½ hours earlier then you would have if you traveled by rail.

The Glacier Discovery route travels down the scenic Turnagain Arm bordering Chugach State Park, then into Chugach National Forest just prior to passing through the Portage and Bear Valleys before transiting two long tunnels before arriving into Whittier.  For visitors embarking cruise ships for 7-day cruises to Vancouver, this is an excellent option for a cruise transfer from Anchorage to Whittier.  The train stops right at the cruise terminal and cruise line representatives even greet the train arrival!

The Glacier Discovery train combined with a Prince William Sound day cruise out of Whittier is an excellent excursion for visitors to Anchorage who are seeking a full day adventure.   After your day cruise, you’ll return to the depot for your rail trip back to Anchorage.

spencer-glacier-iceAfter dropping off passengers in Whittier, the train returns through the Portage Valley before heading into the Placer Valley and up into the Chugach Mountains to Spencer and Grandview Pass.  For a more adventurous day, a ride on the Glacier Discovery up to Spencer Whistle Stop for a raft trip among the glacier ice of Spencer Lake and down the Placer River is a unique experience for visitors to Alaska, and residents as well.  The Spencer Glacier area is deep in Chugach National Forest and is inaccessible except for by rail.  The rafting company that provides the service for the gentle float trip is very professional and well organized – providing raingear, rubber boots and a deli-style lunch at their base camp on the shores of beautiful Spencer Lake.

Regardless of why you are riding the Glacier Discovery, the trip provides an incredible opportunity to experience some of Alaska’s most beautiful country, and ample opportunity to see mountain sheep, moose, eagles, and other wildlife such as Beluga whales and bears depending on the time of year.

Reprinted from

Plan Your Great Alaska Travel Adventure!

June 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Great Alaska Adventure June

Great Alaska Travel Adventure

For the ultimate Great Alaska Travel Adventure
don’t just visit Alaska, Experience and Live Alaska!

Lamar Steen lived, worked, and played in Alaska, traveling extensively throughout the state on many Great Alaska Travel Adventures for over 30 years.

Follow him on the ultimate Great Alaska Travel Adventure as he shows you the splendor and beauty of “The Last Frontier” with the intricate details only a 30 year Alaskan Advenurer can provide.

He will also introduce you to some of Alaska’s diversified people, which include many characters, who in themselves are an entertaining story of their own.

You will be fully prepared to live and experience The Great Alaska Travel Adventure on a thrilling and enjoyable trip.

You will get the cherished secrets that Alaskans hold so dear and why they love this magnificent state called Alaska.

Let’s begin the Journey on Our Great Alaska Travel Adventure.
You are in store for the thrill of a lifetime.

First, you will need to plan your trip in advance.
People are always asking “what in is the best time to experience Alaska?” My answer is “that depends on what you’re looking for”.
Most people would prefer to have good weather during their experience so unless you want winter activities, mid-May to mid-September is your only choice. Unfortunately, Alaska is truly diversified with its weather conditions year-round. It can be very warm and dry, very wet and cold, icy, or very very cold and snowy.

I will be addressing several different scenarios throughout this guide that will be directed at all types of reasons to visit Alaska, including just visiting, photography, wildlife viewing, fishing, aurora borealis viewing (Northern Lights), hunting, hiking, campong, skiing etc.

So let’s start by saying most people want the optimum best weather. As I said, Alaska can range to the extremes. So be sure and bring a diversification of clothing especially in the summer. On warm sunny days the temperature can range from 50 to the upper 70s degrees Fahrenheit and sometimes as high as the low 90’s in the interior. Bring clothes to accommodate the variable conditions. It can also be cold and wet, with temperatures ranging from the lower 40s to the upper 50s and rain. So be sure and bring rain gear, layered warm clothing, a good pair of sun glasses and gloves. Cameras of course and plenty of batteries and/or charger. If you plan on hiking, a good pair of hiking boots are needed.

A friend of mine, that owns a company in Alaska, holds a golf tournament every year for his clients. Yes there are golf courses in Alaska-sometimes you have to play around the moose in the fairways. But the scenery is fantastic. Anyway, he actually paid one of the top-notch weather consultants to run a computer program on the best odds to have good weather at a given time during the summer. Interestingly enough, the first through the third week of June, won hands down. And remember I said odds, in other words, it can be changeable without notice and without guarantees.

Wildlife viewing actually is 365 days per year. Moose and other wildlife, even bears, are commonly seen along the roadways including the downtown areas. Always have your camera ready and be on the lookout for wildlife. I will be more specific on the best places for a particular type of wildlife. As we advance through Your Great Alaska Travel Adventure.

Next you need to consider your mode of transportation.

On my initial trip, I drove from Fort Worth, Texas to Alaska,via Seattle, Washington. I wanted to see some of the western United States and Canada, So I made it a 14 day trip. That story will be written in my memoir, “My Great Alaska Adventure” on a separate website.

Flying to Alaska is in itself an awesome, beautiful trip. Try to sit on the right hand side of the aircraft, if possible as most of the scenery is normally viewed from that side of the aircraft. If it is a clear day, most pilots give a great monologue on what you are seeing and what is coming up. You will be able to see gigantic rivers, continuous mountains, valleys, and enormous rivers of ice-glaciers.  Click the following link for video:

Flying To A Great Alaska Travel Adventure

Remember in the summer in Alaska, it is full daylight 18 to 20 hours per day with 4 to 6 hours of very bright twilight. It takes some getting used to, but really extends the time for getting to see everything without being hindered by darkness.

Book your airline tickets as far in advance as possible, unless you want to gamble for low fares, which sometimes drop substantially, up to two weeks before your trip. This is really chancy as I have seen cases where the fares actually increase substantially. Shop around including directly to the airline’s websites. I was quite surprised over the years how buying directly from the airlines sometimes is cheaper than some of the supposed discount websites. Always compare. One website I have come to use is They seem to stay on top of the airline ticket fares and trends. For some reason I have always got my best fares in April.

Automobile rentals definitely need to be booked as far in advance as possible. In the summer, you are traveling during prime time, and you can bet that the best price deals will be booked solid. Believe me, if you don’t book far in advance, you will pay double the rental amount of the more economical rentals. If you can afford it, I always recommend an SUV with 4 Wheel Drive. This is Alaska, and even though you are not supposed to go off pavement by most real companies, sometimes it just cannot be helped. I’ll be discussing some examples as I take you on your Great Alaska Travel Adventure.

Now let us talk about accommodations. Hotels and bed & breakfasts, also will need to be booked far in advance. Do not wait to the last-minute. You will pay a premium, and in some cases may not be able to find accommodations. More later.

To really see Alaska and experience Your Great Alaska Travel Adventure, you will need to plan a 10 to 14 day trip- minimum.

For planning purposes, I will be giving you a detailed itinerary of the places you will be visiting so you can book your accommodations in advance.

Stay tuned as I make post as things and places actually happen with photos and videos.