The dotted lines on the map show the flight routes we took. Two routes were done in four and six passenger planes, both necessary to visit the three national parks.
Lake Clark National Park
We flew to this park in a six-passenger plane for about 90 minutes southeast from Anchorage. It has a large population of grizzly bears (we usually saw over 20 at one time)--which delighted my grandson.
Kobuk Valley National Park and Gates of the Arctic National Park
We reached these two parks in a four-passenger Cessna, taking about two hours west of the village of Bettles, which is north of Fairbanks. It was so amazing to see virtually no sign of humans for the whole trip. Just stunning how large Alaska is.
Barrow is the name of the northernmost city in the US. However, as its 30-some thousand residents are Eskimos, it is now called Utgiagvik. And, no, I cannot pronounce it. It is almost always cloudy there, so I could not see the sun all night long, though it stayed very bright all night given that in June it is out 24 hours. And it rarely gets above 50 degrees in summer.
We happened to be there when there was a whaling festival, where boat caption provide a big spread of food for all comers--including whale meat. Quite interesting.
Denali National Park
Denali is the native American name for the tallest mountain in North America, at over 20,000 feet. It was named Mt. McKinley, after the president, in the early 1900s. It is inside Denali National Park, just over an hour south of Fairbanks.
Alaska is big, beautiful, and home to great weather--and horrible weather. So, if you go, be prepared tor many things not to be found in the "lower 48." It's not for everyone, but my 3rd cousin, who lives 20 miles east of Fairbanks and grew up in Newton, would live nowhere else. And if you go, do more than just the common things. See the Inland Passage and a few other things. Go where we did in June. Go to Kodiak Island and other islands, as Dorothy and I did. Go to Wrangel-St. Elias National Park and stay at the quaint sort-of-ghost town of McCarthy, as we also did. You'll find few people--and astounding sights. Skip knows that.