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Epic Alaska

August 3-10, 2020

Optional Add-On Aug. 10-12

Trip Overview

Epic Alaska

In conjunction with Moshe Portnoy of Elef Tours

Trip Dates: August 3-10, 2020

Trip Length: 8 days / 7 nights

Optional Add-On: Aug. 10-12

Trip Level: 3 - Moderate (click for details)

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  • Spend a week exploring the many wonders of Alaska on this luxurious tour

  • Stay in luxurious accommodations at Alyeska Resort

  • Enjoy high-end gourmet Glatt Kosher food prepared fresh by our on-site team of chefs

  • Cruise the calm waters of Prince William Sound watching for icebergs and wildlife

  • Take a private floatplane into the remote wilderness and watch grizzlies fishing for salmon

  • Trek on a glacier and view glacial lakes and massive icefalls

  • Take an aerial tour of Denali National Park and land on a glacier on Mt. McKinley's flanks

  • ATV in Chugach National Forest, kayak in glacial lakes, and much more

  • Optional extension includes dog sledding with an Iditarod champion via helicopter, and an adventure to Barrow/Utqiagvik, the northernmost point in the United States

 

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1, Monday, August 3

Arrival

Arrive in Anchorage in the evening. Meet and greet your hosts, and transfer to Alyeska Resort. Join us for a sumptuous welcome dinner and get to know your fellow travelers.​

Day 2, Tuesday, Aug. 4

Cruise Prince William Sound

After shachris and a hearty buffet breakfast, we head to the tiny town of Whittier via the scenic Seward Highway and the unique Anton Anderson rail and road tunnel. We spend a bit of time exploring the interesting and historic town where nearly all residents, businesses, etc. occupy a single building.

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After seeing all the Whittier has to offer, we board the ship for the main event - a 5-hour cruise of the stunning Prince William Sound. As we sail serenely along, we'll pass - count 'em - 26 glaciers, spectacular mountain ranges, countless waterfalls. Witness ice chunks the size of houses calving from the face of tidewater glaciers, thundering down around us.

 

Watch for an amazing array of wildlife, including whales, orcas, sea otters, bald eagles, Dall sheep, and much more. And we'll visit a seabird rookery, where tens of thousands of birds nest in the cliffs.

Day 3, Wednesday, Aug. 5

Denali National Park

Today we head north, towards the frontier town of Talkeetna. This is the closest town to the mighty Denali (Mt. McKinley), and so is a perfect jumping-off point for our grand aerial tour.

For this adventure we will take off in multiple private ski-equipped planes, with every seat featuring large windows and Bose headsets. We'll fly low over the mountains, and then up and around Denali - the tallest mountain in North America.

Weather-permitting, we will actually land on one of the glaciers coming off the mountain's flanks for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Returning to the resort, we'll take the scenic route - a winding mountain pass with incredible views. On top of

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the pass we'll stop at the historical Independence Mine and learn about the Alaskan gold rushes and booms.

Day 4, Thursday, Aug. 6

Matanuska Glacier Trekking

You turn off the road, take a short hike, and find yourself on a glacier over a hundred square miles in size. 

You strap on your crampons, and step onto the ice. You pass crevasses, moulins, and a hundred other formations.

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Here and there pristine, super-cooled, 400-year old meltwater pours out of the ice, and you drink to your heart's content. The trekking is easy, and you penetrate deeper and deeper into the glacier.

Suddenly a massive icefall looms up ahead. Pinnacles of ice the size of buildings hang at crazy angles, seemingly defying gravity. At its base, a meltwater lake sits placidly. It's a picture-perfect scene and you just don't want to leave.

This is Matanuska Glacier, and this is your Thursday.

Day 5, Friday, Aug. 7

Chugach National Forest ATVing

Start the day with a short drive to the trailhead in Chugatch National Forest, home to the northernmost rainforest anywhere.

We'll get geared up - choose between single and double ATVs - and set out on the trail. We'll ride through the rainforest, into creeks, up to waterfalls, and past alpine meadows where we might spot moose or bears.

We'll be back at the resort for lunch, where the rest of the day is up to you - take the aerial tram up the mountain, hike the WInner Creek trail with its famous hand tram, or schedule a spa appointment.

The sun sets late here, so there's plenty of time to relax and get ready for the lovely Shabbos ahead of us.

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Day 6, Shabbos, Aug. 8

At Leisure

Spend a wonderful and leisurely Shabbos with your fellow travelers, from the warm tefillos to the lavish and heimish Shabbos Seudas. On Shabbos afternoon, participate in one of the shuirim, take a long walk, or just relax in the resort's wonderful common areas.

Day 7, Sunday, Aug. 9

Grizzlies at Lake Clark National Park

Today we fly deep into the Alaskan wilderness, to a land without roads and where the wild animals reign supreme.

 

Our day starts at Lake Clark Seaplane Base in Anchorage, the largest seaplane base in the world. We board our private floatplanes and quickly leave civilization behind. Our pilot narrates as we watch the sights pass beneath us - the Cook Inlet, mountains, lakes, and even a pair of dormant volcanoes.

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Finally our goal comes into view: remote Lake Clark National Park. In the middle of it all sits Crescent Lake, a shockingly-blue stretch of water amidst the mountains.

 

Our pilot gently sets us down in the water, where we transfer to a group of skiffs - and set off hunting for grizzlies. This area has some of the highest concentration of grizzlies, and so the chance of us seeing them up close is almost guaranteed.

 

Our guides will take the boats around the shoreline, into rivers, and across creeks looking for the bears. This is the peak of the salmon season, when the bears fish in great numbers. With a bit of luck, we will see bears fishing, hunting along the shoreline, and frolicking in the water. 

After a few hours on the water and a hearty lunch, our planes will return for us for a final exhilarating flight back to Lake Hood.

Day 8, Monday, Aug. 10

Anchorage and Departure

Spend the morning at leisure - wake up late, enjoy a sumptuous brunch, explore Girdwood, rent a bike, and prepare for an afternoon checkout.

Alternatively, join us for an early morning kayaking outing, paddling your way across the quiet waters surrounded by mountains and glaciers.

After checking out of the hotel, we'll make our way to Anchorage, stopping along the way at a variety of scenic locations, before enjoying a lovely al fresco farewell dinner.

 

Transfer to the airport as needed for your late afternoon or early evening departure. If you have a later flight, join us for an Anchorage city tour before saying your goodbyes.

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Optional 2-Day Add-On

Day 9, Tuesday, Aug. 11

Barrow (Utqiagvik) Far North Adventure

Take your Alaskan adventure even further with a visit to the far north - so far north, in fact, that you can't go any further. We'll take an early morning scheduled Alaska Airlines flight to Barrow - the northernmost town in the United States - with a quick layover in Prudhoe Bay (Deadhorse).

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Upon landing at the tiny airport we'll meet our guide, a local Inuit (Eskimo) whaling captain. We'll tour the entirety of this unique town, and visit the Inupiat Heritage Center. Our guide will show us how his family has been living in this inhospitable place for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years.

 

We'll hop into our guide's boat and travel over the Arctic Ocean to Point Barrow, and set foot on the actual northernmost point of land in the U.S. - a wild, windswept spit of sand jutting out into the Arctic Ocean. Depending on the ice conditions, look for whales, seals, and walrus. If we are extremely lucky, we might spot a polar bear. Other local wildlife includes unique and rare birds, arctic foxes, and caribou.

We'll visit our guide's house where he will show us how the local Inuit hunt whales to this day, and you'll try your hand at his harpoons.

Our transport in Barrow will be adventure-style – in the cab and bed of the guide’s truck, and in his open aluminum boat. As this unique day comes to a close, we'll head directly back to Anchorage on Alaska Airlines.

Optional 2-Day Add-On

Day 10, Wednesday, Aug. 12

Glacier Dog Sledding and Departure

Dog sledding is the quintessential Alaskan activity, but finding snow in August is easier said than done. That's why the Seavey family - holders of multiple Iditarod wins and records - maintain a summer training camp for their dogs high up in Punchbowl Glacier.

The only way up to the camp is by helicopter, and so we will meet in the Girdwood airport right next to our resort for the short but absolutely exhilarating flight up the mountain.

We'll meet our guides - and more importantly, the amazing Alaskan huskies. We'll learn all about the "last great race on earth", and play with the adorable husky pups. Finally, we'll harness up the team for a thrilling dog sled run along the glacier, before helicoptering back to civilization.

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Pricing

Trip cost: Please contact us for full details.

  • Pricing is per-person, based on double occupancy. Single supplement is available.

  • A deposit of 25% of the trip cost is required to confirm your participation. The balance is due in full 21 days before departure (July 14, 2020).

  • For a complete list of what is and what isn't included in the trip cost, see the Important Info section below.

  • This trip requires a minimum amount of participants.

  • Cancellation policy:

    • COVID-19 related cancellations (unforeseen new travel regulations or positive test results): we will refund a minimum of 50% of the trip cost. In addition, any additional recoverable funds will be returned to you minus a 10% cancellation fee, capped at $750 per person.

    • All other cancellations - whether for medical and/or hospitalizations or non-medical: Up to 21 days before departure: 75% refund. 20-11 days before departure: 50% refund. 10 days or fewer before departure: 25% refund. All refunds will be less any applicable processing fees.

    • All cancellation requests - for any reason - must be received by email.

    • Kosher Horizons and Elef Tours are not responsible for any other expenses incurred, including but not limited to non-refundable airline tickets. We strongly recommend that all travelers obtain comprehensive travel insurance including "cancel for any reason" coverage.

 
 

Antarctica Kosher Expedition

Important Info

COVID-19:

The​ safety of our travelers has always been our highest priority, and it remains so during those trying times. In order to comply with state and local regulations - as well as common-sense best practices - the following points will apply throughout our trip:

Entry into Alaska: The state of Alaska requires all travelers to complete a declaration form and provide proof of a recent negative COVID test. Please see here and here for more details.

Local guides and outfitters: Some of our guides and outfitters are requiring everyone to wear a mask when inside their facilities. None of our vendors require masks when outdoors.

Staying safe: We will provide masks to all travelers. We will also have hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes available on the bus and in resort common areas.

The Food:

Our meals will be catered by the famous Weiss Brothers Caterers and prepared fresh by our on-site chef. We will have our own dedicated Kosher kitchen under the supervision of a Mashgiach Temidi. All food will adhere to the highest standards of Kashrus - Cholov Yisroel, Pas Yisroel, Glatt, and Chassidishe Shechita.

Prepare to be wowed by lavish breakfast buffets, delicious packed lunches, and elegant sit-down dinners complete with fine wines - not to mention heimisha and warm Shabbos Seudas.

Special requests: If you have any dietary restrictions, let us know and we'll try to accommodate you.

What's Included:

  • All transport and transfers in a large, comfortable coach.

  • All lodging and resort fees

  • All activities, admission fees, fuel surcharges, national park fees, guides, etc. for the above listed itinerary.

  • All meals for the duration of the trip

  • Fine wines at dinner, plus hard alcohol on Shabbos

  • For the optional add-on: commercial airfare from Anchorage to Barrow and back, plus all activities and guiding as listed in the itinerary.

What's Not Included:

  • Airfare to or from Anchorage.

  • Items of a personal nature (spa services, souvenirs, etc.).

  • Guide gratuities (optional).

  • Travel insurance.

  • Visa fees or airport taxes.

  • COVID testing costs

Legal Stuff:

Kosher Horizons strongly recommends that all travelers obtain comprehensive travel insurance. Such insurance may provide coverage for losses suffered in the event of trip cancellation and interruption, travel delay, loss of baggage and travel documents, baggage delay, medical emergencies and the like.

Kosher Horizons and Elef Tours shall take no responsibility or liability for any other expenses incurred, including but not limited to non-refundable airline tickets, personal, or property damage before, during, or after the duration of this trip. A signed limit of liability form and/or medical release may be required to attend this trip. 

The above itinerary is intended as a guide only and may change based on weather, group preferences, or other reasons.