Thursday, December 16, 2010

Kobuk Valley National Park

It has been awhile since we have been to Alaska, almost a full year. Normally people wouldn’t see that as being a long time, but since I retired we have spend the last ten years of our lives becoming expert travelers and spending most of our time and money going from place to place. Most of the time we stay in the U.S. because it’s easier and there is a lot to see here when you really look. About a year ago we made plans to visit all the National Parks in the U.S. that looked interesting. Over this last year we have visited most of them, and we are narrowing down on the list of available parks to visit.

We decided to head to Kobuk Valley National Park, located in north Alaska. Finding a hotel or place to stay in Alaska is usually easy, but this far up north in the Northwest Arctic Borough it wasn’t so easy. When we finally found a place to stay we made plans to fly in. Now it is our tradition to rent a vehicle every trip, we always enjoy choosing and driving around in brand new cars. But this time of year up in Alaska we wouldn’t be able to drive without local help, so for the first time in nearly a hundred trips we did without a rental car.

When we landed in Fairbanks we were driven to our lodge in the bitter cold. The roads were completely iced over so it was slow going, but we asked if they could take us to Kobuk Valley in the morning and they simply said “Well see what the roads look like.” Early in the morning they showed up and said we could go and the whether was good for the park this time of year.

When we got there we were told that we were visiting the best part of the park. The guides walked with us for almost fifteen miles up the hills till we hit some of the most spectacular views. The park is roughly the size of Delaware, so there wasn’t a chance in the world we would get to see the whole thing. They said most people take flights over the park, but we were thoroughly enjoying walking along the streams and cresting the high rolling hills.

If we ever return to Kobuk Valley we will be sure to take a flight. If you do visit be sure to pick a better time of the year where it is easier to get around and you don’t freeze after stepping out of the car.