I took my first (and only) trip to Alaska in October 2011, one year before the car accident that put me in a wheelchair. I was in grad school at the time, so my travel was limited to the weekends. When I found a $350 round-trip fare between Florida and Anchorage, I couldn’t pass it up. The 48 hours I spent on the Last Frontier was the most thrilling trip I ever took.
I think about it often, and am grateful that I had the opportunity to visit as an able-bodied adult. Many of the activities I enjoyed then are not possible in a wheelchair. The examples that immediately come to mind are my hike up to the World War II embattlements at Caines Head State Park in Seward, and my ride on the Winner Creek hand tram in Girdwood. Still, it has been a dream of mine to return there. I write this post not only to reminisce about my time there in 2011, but to share my plans for a trip to Alaska this Summer/Fall. That’s right – WheelchairTravel.org is going to Alaska this year!
Before I get into that, I’d like to share a few photos from my last trip, to show you why I’m so excited about going back:
I expected to see beautiful landscapes on this trip, but I was still struck with awe when I arrived. Thankfully, I brought a tripod to capture cool photos like the one above, snapped on Alaska’s Route 9. I was traveling alone, and 2011 was a time before the selfie stick.
Kayaking Resurrection Bay in Seward, Alaska is an experience I will never forget. I’m not sure that I’ll ever be able to kayak again, but the few hours I spent on the bay, and the 10 miles I kayaked that day, are more than I could have ever hoped for. What an incredible experience.
The hand tram that crosses Winner Creek in Girdwood, Alaska was a really neat experience, but it surely was A LOT of work. This is something I’ll never experience from a wheelchair, but it is nice to reminisce.
To the point…
Alaska is a beautiful treasure that should be open to everyone. This Summer/Fall, I will be returning to Alaska to assess its wheelchair accessibility and build a travel guide that will help you open your world. I’ll be there for more than 48 hours this time, and I’m eager to discover the Last Frontier from a new perspective. I want to see what Alaska has to offer those of us with reduced mobility.
I’ll be expanding my itinerary to include areas I didn’t have time to visit in 2011. I’ll also be taking a ride on the Alaska Railroad’s 12-hour journey between Anchorage and Fairbanks – one of the most picturesque routes in the world.
To help me plan this trip, let me know what YOU would like to see in Alaska. Is there something I should check out, or a question you have about wheelchair access there?
If you are a wheelchair user currently living in Alaska, please share any tips you have to make my visit more enjoyable. I’d also be open to having a local meet-up over a fine Alaskan brew!
Look out for my full report, coming this Fall! #OpenYourWorld