Adventures Journeys USA

CLIMBING GLACIERS & NORTHERN LIGHTS: ALASKAN ADVENTURE WITH TREK AMERICA PART I

Todays the day. We can finally share with you what we got up to during our crazy 13 days exploring Alaska on Trek America‘s Alaskan Wonder tour. Beginning our year of full time travel just over 6 months ago, we never would of dreamed our journey would take us to Alaska. It was by far the best travel experience we have had to date and we are so excited to share with you all everything we got up to.

As we experienced so much during our 13 day trek we have decided to break down our adventure into four parts, which we will be sharing with you across the next few weeks.

So, without further adieu here is our Alaskan Adventure with Trek America: Part I.

Alaska

Day 1: The Trek Begins

At 6.30am we scrambled out of our hostel bunk beds, gulped down some coffee and jumped in a taxi on our way to meet up with the 11 other excited travellers ready to depart on our Alaskan adventure. We walked into the Inlet Towers Hotel in Anchorage and felt a sudden rush of nerves and unpreparedness. Others on our tour had their backpacks at the ready, dressed in outfits that said I am ready for a 13 day trek through Alaska.

Six months ago when we left Australia we had never anticipated we would be going camping for 2 weeks, let alone in Alaska. We stood there with our suitcases and sneakers, wishing we had brought all that wet weather gear sitting in our wardrobes back home. Little did we know we had nothing to worry about.

Our tour leader, Tommy, called everyone together as we gathered inside a restaurant to get to know each other a little before hitting the road. After being reassured by Tommy that what we had brought with us would be fine and finding out that for many this was their first time camping, our nerves left us and excitement kicked back in.

After Tommy gave us all the run down for the next 2 weeks we went outside to meet Betsy and Chastity, our van and trailer we would pretty much be living out of during the tour. We squeezed everyones bags in, jumped in the van and day 1 began.

Alaska

We had a full day of driving ahead of us with a distance of 330 miles to cover, heading to a very remote town named McCarthy…population 70. After a few stops to stretch our legs, and a few bumpy roads later we made it to our camp grounds just in time for dinner. This was going to be a night of wilderness camping, with no showers, no electricity and no WiFi! We received a quick demonstration on how to pitch our tents, we got a fire going and the rest of the night was spent getting to know each other before our first nights sleep beneath the stars.

Day 2: Ice Pick Climbing a Glacier

We woke up to a gloomy sky, but nothing could dampen the mood. Today we would be making our way to the Root Glacier to go glacier hiking. Even more exciting, some of us would be experiencing ice pick climbing whilst out on the glacier – and Stephen was one of them! We scoffed down our breakfast, threw a few sandwiches together for lunch, grabbed our bags and jumped in the van on our way to the glacier base camp to meet our guides for the day.

Our adventure began in the historic mill town of Kennecott, Alaska. Here we meet our professional mountain guides who sized us up for our crampons (steel spikes worn on your shoes to make hiking on the glacier ice possible) and gave ice picks to those ice climbing. Once we were all geared up we set off down thee main street of Kennecott, passing run down red buildings left behind during the copper mining operation that boomed there in the early 1900’s.

Alaska

100A3958

Leaving town, we turned onto the two-mile glacier trail that would take us to the Root Glacier ready for our hike. Once we reached the glacier we huddled together at the edge of the ice to put on our crampons and learn some techniques before stepping onto the glacier.

This is where the two groups split up. Jess’s group went for a 2 hour hike around the glacier, admiring stunning vistas, crystal blue pools and amazing sculptured ice throughout the glacier. Stephen’s group headed out to the wave wall where his climb would begin. After mastering how to use the ice picks and foot spikes to climb up the wall it was time for the mother of all ice climbs… the Moulin.

Alaska

Alaska

Alaska

climbing copy

Stepping backwards into the large opening and being lowered down into the Moulin with ice cold water pouring past you and a storm brewing above was one of the most scariest, yet adrenaline filled experiences imaginable. Just picture looking down and not being able to see the bottom and then looking out and realising there’s just a rope and a guide at the end of it. The best way for you to get a sense of our incredible this experience truly is by watching the video below. Trust us, it’s pretty cool…

Day 3: Northern Lights…during Summer?!

After a rainy night it was so nice to wake up to blue skies, and even nicer to know that we would be moving on to a place with hot showers! After a full day of hiking yesterday and having no showers to come home to we were all pretty keen to move to our next location.

We packed up our tents, threw everything back into the van and hit the road towards Tangle Lakes. Todays drive was another long one at 250 miles along the Denali Highway, a lightly traveled, mostly gravelled highway which ended up giving us a popped tire! However, the views along the drive where incredible, showing off Alaska’s stunning mountain ranges and tundra landscape.

Alaska

Alaska

After stopping off for a quick hike through the tundra we arrived at Maclaren River Lodge where we would be spending the night. The camp area had a stunning backdrop of snow capped mountains, it was the perfect spot with the clearest skies we had seen yet.

Alaska

Alaska

The tents went up rather quickly as we raced to grab a hot shower before eating our dinner around the camp fire. A few beers later and we had half the group jumping into the glacier fed lake we were camping along side. We thought that would be the perfect ending to our night and we all made our way to bed… how wrong we were. After jumping into our sleeping bags we heard someone yell out “Is that the northern lights!?” We all scrambled back out into the freezing cold night to see green and purple waves of light dancing across the sky. We were in shock! We of course had hoped to see the northern lights, but thought we wouldn’t have much luck as it was still summer here with the sun going down just before midnight.

Alaska

Alaska

100A4443

How lucky were we!

Book the Alaskan Wonder with Trek America from $2550US.

Stay tuned for Part II…

Stephen and Jess signoff

Thanks to Trek America for inviting Flying The Nest to experience the Alaskan Wonder tour. 

You Might Also Like

  • The northern lights though! Omg, seriously like the biggest bucket list item of life.

  • Jaime Nicole

    Oh, I am so, so jealous! I have always wanted to go to Alaska and I would LOVE to photograph the northern lights!

  • Carol Speake

    I have always wanted to visit Alaska. The photos are just wonderful. Looks like a great trip.

  • You surely were lucky. When I was in the army it was my dream to be stationed in Alaska but it didn’t happen. I want to see the Northern Lights so might just have to take a cruise there.

  • Camile Lindsay Kumi

    Sounds like an awesome experience. I can’t imagine going on this adventure because I absolutely hate the cold even though I live in Chicago. However I love traveling internationally and I think it’s great that you are able to take a year off to see the world.

  • Alli Smith

    I would love to see the Northern Lights. What beautiful photos! I got chill bumps just looking at the pics of you climbing that glacier. Scary! I found myself cheering you on.

  • Terry My Journey With Candida

    Oh how lucky you are to get to do this trek. Lucky and brave. Not sure I would be able to do it.
    I have actually never seen the Northern Lights, so it would be a great thrill to see them.

  • Tyra

    I am incredibly jealous. While I am not much (or let’s be real, at all) of a trekker, I have been dying to see the Northern Lights. Stunning!

  • Jennifer Juro

    I am so jealous!! My parents have been to Alaska a couple times and loved it! Your photos are amazing!

  • Nikki Santori

    Ok I am obsessed with everything about this post and blog. From the climbing glaciers, to the northern lights to the fact that you are a young couple traveling the world. I’m going to follow your journey. I’m so glad I found you guys <3

  • Clarissa Esquivel

    wow! You are seriously living the dream! This looks like so much fun! I would love to do this one day.

  • chubskulit

    What an incredible journey you guys have had,. I always wanted to see the northern lights, thanks for capturing it and sharing it with us.

  • That looks so amazing!! I’ve always wanted to see the Northern Lights. Great photos! <3

  • Joann Woolley

    The images of the Northern Lights are incredible! It is on my bucket list to go to Alaska specifically because my dad grew up there and would share some pretty wonderful stories. It sounds like this is a trip of a life time and you are really soaking it all in…. I look forward to reading more of your travel adventures.

  • Brook Devis

    it seems i saw a film ..cnt wat to read part II … thank u for sharing this experience with us

  • WOW – what a trip! I can’t believe you went to a town that only has 70 people. That would be so lonely compared to my San Francisco!

  • Megan Wolff Galko

    Wow what gorgeous photos you got! Truly a trip of a lifetime, can’t wait to read Part 2. Thanks for sharing!

  • Simply Sassy Style

    OMGGGG! Seeing the northern lights is on my bucket list. I lovee this post and thanks so much for the share. You photos and vids are amazing.

  • @weareofficially

    Trekking in Alaska??! How amazingly cool is that?! I envy you now!!! LOL! Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to enjoy your stories and imagine I was there too. Curious about the Northern lights. They sad it’s really nice.

  • These photos!! Yours are always beautiful, but these are some of my favorites from your blog. Such an incredible surprise to have seen the Northern Lights!