Weekend in Alaska: Denali

Hope you all enjoyed your extended, 3-day, Labor Day weekend! I spent mine celebrating at the wedding of one of my best friends here in Seattle, and finally getting around to editing the last set of photos from the weekend trip to Alaska! (Earlier posts of exploring Anchorage here and here, if you missed them!) This post is my best “You should definitely visit Alaska!” campaign because if the scenery here doesn’t say it all, I don’t know how else to convince someone to go!

Denali bus tour - scenes from Denali
Ok! So, if you missed the last post exploring Anchorage, we left off with a 4 hour drive from Anchorage to Healy, AK. This was a solid 4 hour drive through pouring rain and the occasional sunny break between the storm clouds. One of the most challenging things when packing for Alaska was selecting footwear. I usually only travel with a pair of sneakers, but knowing the possibility of heavy rain, I spent a solid 75% of my backpack on a pair of rain boots. Sounds crazy, but it was totally warranted.

Denali National Park bus tour
We started our morning in Healy off bright and early. The Denali National Park bus tours usually last 8 hours, and we were scheduled to fly back to Seattle that same night, which would require making the 4 hour long drive from Healy back to Anchorage after the Denali bus tour. The Denali bus tour promised gorgeous views, the potential for seeing wildlife, and getting to stop off to see some of the scenery up close and personal. Needless to say, it did not disappoint!

Littered around what felt like every corner of the road, we spotted sheep, caribou, deer, and even a bear! The buses running this tour drive super slow. The tour is only 66 miles long, but takes 8 hours because of the slow speed required to keep the animals in the area feeling unthreatened.

Denali caribou antlers
One of the pit stops included seeing some deer and caribou antlers up close. These pieces were found around the park by the staff rangers and collected for tourists to examine up close. It looks like I’m struggling to hold one antler up in this photo, and that’s totally true! These babies can weigh up to 40 lbs a piece! As someone who has zero arm strength, I worked up a sweat for this photo! haha

Helly Hansen rain jacket and rain boots
outfit details:
raincoat: c/o Helly Hansen (exact)
denim: PAIGE denim (similar)
rain boots: c/o Helly Hansen (exact, currently on sale!)

Because of the on and off downpour on the way to Healy, I wore my striped rain boots on the Denali bus tour. I realize how much of a tourist this makes me look like now that I’m looking back on the photos, but it was a great choice at the time! They were so comfortable to walk in and didn’t over-insulate my feet. On the windier pit stops, the Helly Hansen Welsey trench was such a life saver. For the amount of insulation and windproof it provides, it’s surprisingly lightweight! The hood can also be packed to form the structured collar. This jacket is the ultimate fashion-tech piece, which I absolutely love because it makes packing for trips like these easy!

Denali bus tour views
If you’re debating a trip to Alaska, the Denali bus tour around the Denali National Park is a must! Don’t forget to check the weather before going so you can pack appropriately!

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Weekend in Alaska: Exploring Anchorage

Today is part 2 of the adventures exploring Anchorage (all the deets from the first half of the day were dished in this post)! We spent a couple hours wandering around the main strip of the town, popping in and out of every shop that seemed to catch our attention.

Exploring Anchorage
My favourite store was The Mercantile, a beautifully curated and merchandised menswear and accessories store. It may have been biased with the Filson bags that made me nostalgic of Seattle, but I loved the vibe of the overall shop. Not to mention, the dreamy workbench setup at the front window of the store where all the custom leather work and embossing magic happened!

The Mercantile shop
The Mercantile shop
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Weekend in Alaska: Anchorage Saturday Market

Last month, a friend found a great deal for round trip flights to Alaska for about $200. Having never been there before and always wanting to visit, a small group of friends bought tickets for a weekend of exploring in August! Our flight arrived in Anchorage just after midnight on a Saturday. After a quick nap and some googling, we decided to spend the morning at the Anchorage Saturday Market.

We went from sunny skies and 90 degree weather in Seattle to the 60 degree grey skies of Anchorage. To stay warm and dry in this weather, I packed a wind-resistant and water-repellent jacket which came in handy on this particularly gloomy morning. This jacket has also been my go-to “blanket” whenever traveling on planes since it is extremely lightweight and packs compactly. So easy to carry on in a purse or small backpack! (Shared this in my travel essentials on IG a couple weeks ago.)

Anchorage for the weekend
Anchorage Saturday market
The Anchorage Saturday Market reminded me a lot of the Fremont Sunday Market here in Seattle. A beautiful mix of local vendors with handmade crafts, ulu knkives, original art and photography, and – of course my favourite thing to check out – delicious food vendors.

Anchorage weekend market: piroshki stand
My favourite stand was the one serving freshly deep-fried salmon and rice-filled piroshki. There’s nothing like a warm, deliciously seasoned, hot pocket of goodness to keep you happy while strolling through the misty rain! We ended up taking our snacks to go and exploring a bit of the city outside of the market, which brought me to this buddy…

Helly Hansen Astra jacket
outfit details:
Astra jacket (midlayer): c/o Helly Hansen (exact)
blue beanie: c/o Helly Hansen (exact or similar in cashmere)
skinny denim: AG Jeans (exact)

anchorage-alaska-HH

We continued to adventure through Anchorage, but not without a fight from the weather. Trying to stay warm and dry on foot was a bit of a challenge with the incoming rain, but the neckline of this midlayer was perfect! Looked like a stealth ninja hiding out from the rain, and the buttons on the side made it easy to undo for when the clouds were passing and we saw some sun.

Excited to share part 2 of Anchorage later this week!

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