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Back On Land so this chance to see it from the top with a crystal clear view is something special. I am in awe of the majestic mountain as we fly through the cliffs to our landing spot on a glacier. I climb out After a quick flight to Fairbanks, it is time to cross the Arctic of the tiny plane with an uncontrollable smile plastered on my Circle with the Northern Alaska Tour Company (www.norther- face. Flying to the tip of a mountain and then playing in the snow nalaska.com; 800.474.1986). I jump into my seat on the 8-seater on a glacier is at the top of my favorite experiences. plane ready for the adventure ahead. As we make our way, the pilot points out the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and the wildlife below I chose to spend my last day on the Tundra Wilderness Tour while offering historical facts about the area. We land and drive over to Wiseman, population 13, for a quick tour of life simply (www.denaliparkresorts.com; 800.276.7234), a 6-hour bus trek that ventures 54 miles into the Denali National Park. I heard the lived. bus was the best way to see the wildlife in their own habitat and after the day was done, I would agree. The final tally came to: The next morning we board the Alaska Railroad (www.alaskara- 1 porcupine, 2 moose, 14 caribou, 8 grizzlies, 5 Dall sheep, 2 ilroad.com; 907.265.2494) for a trip down to the Denali National chipmunks and 1 lynx. Park which has 6 million acres of wildland and is home to Mt. McKinley, North America's highest peak. The 89-foot-double- deck dome passenger cars provide the perfect perch to gaze on the world passing by. Halfway through the trip and in a sleepy Where to Stay: fog, I notice a moose grazing feet from the track, and I know this is only the beginning. Westmark Baranof Hotel Juneau Shortly after entering the Denali National Park, I am rerouted to www.westmarkhotels.com/juneau.php the Fly Denali (www.flydenali.com; 907.733.7768), a flightseeing tour group that gives customer a very unique experience. I strap Westmark Fairbanks Hotel and Conference Center on my seatbelt and slip on my headphones to hear the pilot www.westmarkhotels.com/fairbanks.php chatter with flight control. As we rise above the clouds, off in the distance is the snow-covered peak of Mt. McKinley. With a sum- McKinley Chalet Resort mit of 20,320 feet, the peak is often obscured from view on land, www.denaliparkresorts.com 86 J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2013


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