Travelers’ Intercom USA

This item appears on page 28 of the June 2021 issue.
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ITN is temporarily accepting brief write-ups about the US. Information on independent travel, cultural and traditional sites and sources of handmade crafts plus little-known natural wonders are welcome. Avoid touting commercial theme parks, casinos or highly publicized touristy sites.

Email editor@intltravelnews.com or write to Travelers’ Intercom USA, c/o ITN, 2116 28th St., Sacramento, CA 95818.


SCENIC TRAIL IN UTAH

In southern Utah are Zion, Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef national parks as well as Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Highway 12 connects Bryce with Capitol Reef, through the scenic heart of Grand Staircase-Escalante, but along the highway, from the small village of Boulder, is a wonderful detour worth the extra time and scenery: the absolutely astounding Burr Trail.

From Boulder, heading east, the Burr Trail runs from the high country of similarly spectacular Grand Staircase-Escalante down to a wide valley. The scenery is wonderful Utah as usual — slot canyons plus high points allowing wonderful views of the absurd geology, including the famous Waterpocket Fold.

Twenty miles from Boulder, the road Ts and the pavement ends, becoming sand in both directions — 48 miles south to Bullfrog on Lake Powell or north to State Route 24 to near Capitol Reef National Park. Both roads are OK for a car or pickup going slow.

My wife, Barbara, and I visited in 2016 or 2017. Boulder sported a regional museum, a small motel and a single very good diner. Turn east at the diner for the Burr Trail. Figure the better part of a day if you go south to Bullfrog and the same if you go north to highway 24 and on to Capitol Reef.

While you’re in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, ask rangers about Kodachrome Basin State Park and how to get there.

For more info on driving the trail, visit www.nps.gov/glca/planyourvisit/driving-the-burr-trail.htm.

GENE McPHERSON
Sturgis, SD

 

 

ALASKA ADVENTURES

My wife, Sally, and I experienced a unique 2-week trip to Alaska in 2007. We flew commercial airlines, New York-Seattle-Juneau, and then the former Era Aviation from Juneau to Gustavus, the starting point of our 6-day Glacier Bay cruise on the Sea Wolf of Sea Wolf Adventures (Gustavus, AK; 907/957-1438, seawolfadventures.net).

The Sea Wolf is a 97-foot converted minesweeper that accommodates 12 passengers. Each day, we’d cruise to a new anchorage, kayak from the boat and explore calving glaciers and take mainland hikes and upstream paddles. Bears and eagles were ubiquitous.

On kayaks, we got within 75 feet of this (perhaps) 3-year-old grizzly, who seemed completely at peace with us. Photo by Steven Sugar

The size of the boat allowed for tremendous flexibility, and the captain, Kimber Owen, is a fascinating woman for all seasons, who successfully took on chef/guide/naturalist/historian duties as the situations demanded (and she’s still running the cruise today).

My dining relationship with halibut was forever changed when I got a close-up look at a 200-pound halibut, a fish which, until then, I’d assumed was similar in size to the flounders I’d been served in restaurants.

We finished the cruise with a day visiting Kimber’s home of Elfin Cove on the way to the Gulf of Alaska, where we had multiple sightings of seals and of humpback whales breaching and diving, with dolphins escorting the boat.

From Gustavus, we flew to Valdez (via Juneau), rented a car and drove a beautiful, circuitous route to the Chitina Airport (which consisted of a gravel runway, two outhouses and a chain-locked log cabin), where a 4-seat Piper Cub took us the last 20 minutes to McCarthy, a small town within the borders of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve (= Yosemite + Yellowstone + Switzerland combined).

We’d booked a room at the Kennicott Glacier Lodge (800/582-5128, www.kennicottlodge.com), site of the Kennicott Copper mine, which operated from 1906 to 1938 and once was the richest copper mine in the world.

We explored (complete with crampons) the Root Glacier and the 40 remaining mine buildings, some in pristine condition, river-rafted down the Chitina River and met most of the full-time residents of McCarthy (at that time, there were 16; today, 26).

After three days, we retraced our route from Valdez to Anchorage, did some local exploring and topped it off with a 6-person floatplane trip to Denali. The weather dictated all trips, and we didn’t know until 20 minutes prior that we’d be able to make the trip.

Seeing the mountain (and the climbers at base camp) was glorious, and on our return we landed at a glacial lake, which we started to explore until our pilot, pointing to large, fresh tracks, said that they were grizzly prints and it was time to depart.

BEST TRIP EVER!

STEVEN SUGAR
Tenafly, NJ


** Editor's note : The Alaska Adventures article has been updated to reflect that the author is from New Jersey. The original article incorrectly referred to his home state as New York.

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

ITN is temporarily accepting brief write-ups about the US. Information on independent travel, cultural and traditional sites and sources of handmade crafts plus little-known natural wonders are welcome. Avoid touting commercial theme parks, casinos or highly publicized touristy sites.

Email editor@intltravelnews.com or write to Travelers’ Intercom USA, c/o ITN, 2116 28th St., Sacramento, CA 95818.


SCENIC TRAIL IN UTAH

In southern Utah are Zion, Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef national parks as well as Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Highway 12 connects Bryce with Capitol Reef, through the scenic heart of Grand Staircase-Escalante, but along the highway, from the small village of Boulder, is a wonderful detour worth the extra time and scenery: the absolutely astounding Burr Trail.

From Boulder, heading east, the Burr Trail runs from the high country of similarly spectacular Grand Staircase-Escalante down to a wide valley. The scenery is wonderful Utah as usual — slot canyons plus high points allowing wonderful views of the absurd geology, including the famous Waterpocket Fold.

Twenty miles from Boulder, the road Ts and the pavement ends, becoming sand in both directions — 48 miles south to Bullfrog on Lake Powell or north to State Route 24 to near Capitol Reef National Park. Both roads are OK for a car or pickup going slow.

My wife, Barbara, and I visited in 2016 or 2017. Boulder sported a regional museum, a small motel and a single very good diner. Turn east at the diner for the Burr Trail. Figure the better part of a day if you go south to Bullfrog and the same if you go north to highway 24 and on to Capitol Reef.

While you’re in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, ask rangers about Kodachrome Basin State Park and how to get there.

For more info on driving the trail, visit www.nps.gov/glca/planyourvisit/driving-the-burr-trail.htm.

GENE McPHERSON
Sturgis, SD

 

 

ALASKA ADVENTURES

My wife, Sally, and I experienced a unique 2-week trip to Alaska in 2007. We flew commercial airlines, New York-Seattle-Juneau, and then the former Era Aviation from Juneau to Gustavus, the starting point of our 6-day Glacier Bay cruise on the Sea Wolf of Sea Wolf Adventures (Gustavus, AK; 907/957-1438, seawolfadventures.net).

The Sea Wolf is a 97-foot converted minesweeper that accommodates 12 passengers. Each day, we’d cruise to a new anchorage, kayak from the boat and explore calving glaciers and take mainland hikes and upstream paddles. Bears and eagles were ubiquitous.

On kayaks, we got within 75 feet of this (perhaps) 3-year-old grizzly, who seemed completely at peace with us. Photo by Steven Sugar

The size of the boat allowed for tremendous flexibility, and the captain, Kimber Owen, is a fascinating woman for all seasons, who successfully took on chef/guide/naturalist/historian duties as the situations demanded (and she’s still running the cruise today).

My dining relationship with halibut was forever changed when I got a close-up look at a 200-pound halibut, a fish which, until then, I’d assumed was similar in size to the flounders I’d been served in restaurants.

We finished the cruise with a day visiting Kimber’s home of Elfin Cove on the way to the Gulf of Alaska, where we had multiple sightings of seals and of humpback whales breaching and diving, with dolphins escorting the boat.

From Gustavus, we flew to Valdez (via Juneau), rented a car and drove a beautiful, circuitous route to the Chitina Airport (which consisted of a gravel runway, two outhouses and a chain-locked log cabin), where a 4-seat Piper Cub took us the last 20 minutes to McCarthy, a small town within the borders of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve (= Yosemite + Yellowstone + Switzerland combined).

We’d booked a room at the Kennicott Glacier Lodge (800/582-5128, www.kennicottlodge.com), site of the Kennicott Copper mine, which operated from 1906 to 1938 and once was the richest copper mine in the world.

We explored (complete with crampons) the Root Glacier and the 40 remaining mine buildings, some in pristine condition, river-rafted down the Chitina River and met most of the full-time residents of McCarthy (at that time, there were 16; today, 26).

After three days, we retraced our route from Valdez to Anchorage, did some local exploring and topped it off with a 6-person floatplane trip to Denali. The weather dictated all trips, and we didn’t know until 20 minutes prior that we’d be able to make the trip.

Seeing the mountain (and the climbers at base camp) was glorious, and on our return we landed at a glacial lake, which we started to explore until our pilot, pointing to large, fresh tracks, said that they were grizzly prints and it was time to depart.

BEST TRIP EVER!

STEVEN SUGAR
Tenafly, NJ


** Editor's note : The Alaska Adventures article has been updated to reflect that the author is from New Jersey. The original article incorrectly referred to his home state as New York.