EB9005
Topic Author
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Mar 18, 2007 9:29 pm

Tripreport: Alaska and Yukon, Condor Business Class – Videos included

Sat Jan 18, 2020 9:52 am

Hallo together,

Today I’d like to show you a tripreport of the holiday of our life. To warn you it is quite long, but it shows a trip 4500km through Alaska and Yukon. It was a guided tour with a group of 18 people. Here you see the route.

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The flight departed from Frankfurt so we chose the ICE from Leipzig to Frankfurt. Check-In as well as the security was very empty so we were very fast able to enter the lounge. Condor offers a voucher to get Access to the Lufthansa Lounge. Instead of the Lounge you can the voucher as board credit. In reason we had no breakfast we went to the Lounge at Gate B44.

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Since we did not know how long the second check for the US flights would take, we went to Gate B60 a little earlier. But even here it went very quickly, so that we remained standing for a few minutes. Sitting for ten hours was enough now.

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The flight and the crew were extremely pleasant. Again I was allowed to get the cockpit pre flight.
The video of the flight can be seen here:

https://youtu.be/Qp8qzlZk5cs

A ten hour time shift ensured that it was 10:30 both at take-off and at landing. Fortunately, the rooms in the first hotel, which was close to the airport, were already free so that you could freshen up.

The next morning the tour started. Today from Anchorage to Denali National Park. If the weather was good, there would be the option of a scenic flight around Mt. McKinley. Since it was raining like cats and dogs yesterday and had just stopped this morning, we initially had little hope.

To the north, nature has always been more impressive.

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And there he was - still far away, but according to our guide only 30% of the guests get to see him. 10% in all its glory- we'll see.

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Finally we decided to do the sightseeing flight. 1h 20minutes from McKinley Park Airport in an 8 seat Piper P31. Pilot Bob - 51 years on duty - seemed to know exactly what he was doing. Even if the machine shook well one time or another, he brought us back safely. With pictures and impressions that were not able to get from the ground.

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Also here we made a video, which can be seen here:

https://youtu.be/GpcKfyrk2x8

Next day there should be an eleven hour bus tour through the Denali National Park. Because we had seen all this way better from above we decided to suspend the day and took some walks around the hotel.

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Next morning and further to the north. Off to Fairbanks, Alaska's second largest city. Since this was a rather short “hop”, we were able to have lunch on the Chena River.

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The next day brought us an eleven hour bus ride from Fairbanks to Dawson City, Yukon/Canada. The weather was a bid worse than yesterday, but for a bus ride this would be okay. Just behind Fairbanks you drive along the Eielson Air Force Base. Based there are fighters as F-16 and F-35 and also KC-135 Stratotankers.

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The next major city to pass is Tok. Shortly afterwards, in Tetlin Junction the Taylor Highway separates from the Alaska Highway, which later becomes the "Top Of The World Highway". We drove it on September 11th – just eleven days later the road is already closed for the winter season until next spring.

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At a height of almost 1300m you will pass the border base with the name "Little Gold", which is very suitable for the region.

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Now we were in the Yukon and now you can see why it is called "Top often the World Highway". I don't want to talk about dead silence right away, but there was practically nothing to be heard.

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Fortunately, the last 100km after Dawson it went downhill, it was now quite late according to the time shift even an hour later. Unlike the road, the Dawson ferry operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Many other ships, including the paddle steamer, were already winterized.

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The Aurora Inn should be our hotel for the next three nights. A very nice hotel with a good restaurant. After breakfast the day was free. Dawson has no paved roads and therefore wooden sidewalks. All of this perfectly reflects the charm of the gold mining era!

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Every gold mining town had a good establishment with well-dressed women. In Dawson this is the Diamond Tooth Gerties including gambling and Cancan Show.

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The next day it should go towards "nowhere" again. The Dempster Highway mercilessly leads north and leads to Inuvik. We don't want to go that far, we're going to Tombstone National Park. Past the legacies of the old gold diggers on a street that seems to be enjoyed with caution.

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The reward is a nature which seems to change almost constantly. In the distance you can still see the "tombstone" - unfortunately a bit smoky. To the tundra with layers of moss over the permafrost, which still can be found here.

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On the way back we saw a bull moose with two cows. Always well camouflaged.

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The destination in Dawson was the Midnight Dome. From there you have a wonderful view of Dawson and the confluence of the Yukon and Klondike River. If it hadn't been that smoky ;-) The northern lights hoped for were therefore unfortunately also denied.

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The next day took us from Dawson City to Whitehorse, the capital of Yukon. We hadn't got very far. Then the first, albeit small, grizzly appeared on the roadside.

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The “Five Finger Rapids” - rapids that all those hungry for gold had to pass on their way north - are fairly well known and feared at the beginning of the 20th century. Paddle steamer also had to go through here. Later the whole thing was defused with explosives and today we see "Four Finger Rapids"

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At Whitehorse Airport, the aviation fan gets to see something special. An old DC3 has been converted into a weather vane. - Yes indeed! Mounted on a mast, the whole thing really goes with the wind. Not only does it look adventurous - it sounds too ;-)

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Behind Whitehorse there is the Miles Canyon to admire. Here, too, the horror of the gold rush was somewhat mitigated by building a hydroelectric power station above.

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We spent the next two nights at the Westmark Hotel in downtown Whitehorse.

After a good night's sleep, a day trip to the USA was on the schedule today. Combined with bus and train. So a trip with the legendary White Pass was planned from Fraser to the coast to Skagway. The Whitepass used to go to Whitehorse. Today just to Carcross, 75km away. The highway made the last section of the railway line, built in 1900, superfluous.

So by bus to Carcross past Cowley Lake. It’s banks shimmer greenish due to calcium deposits.

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Carcross, located on Bennett Lake, takes its name from “Caribou Crossing” countless herds of caribou that lived nearby.

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The lakes are getting longer and more romantic towards Fraser. The track towards Fraser leads past Nares Lake, Tagish Lake and Tutshi Lake.

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Arrived in Fraser we switched to the White Pass - now we had 28 miles by train to Skagway with a picturesque backdrop.

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The old border house between Canada and the USA at the White Pass Summit.

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Skagway is very similar in structure and buildings to Dawson City. Because here was the starting point for the gold miners on the way to Dawson. However, Skagway now has paved roads and is often crowded with tourists in midsummer, due to its port. In mid-September this was a lot better.

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Day ten of the trip started in Whitehorse with slightly worse weather. The weather ensured that the sightseeing flights in Kluane National Park had to be canceled. Fortunately we had a great one already in Denali.

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We had lunch in a camping hut on Kathleen Lake. When the weather is nice, this also invites you to go hiking.

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So better go to the hotel and hope for better weather the next day. This led past the Kluane National Park with the highest mountain in Canada - Mount Logan, over the border back to the USA for the overnight stay in Tok.

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We continued to the Kluane Lake tributary. The lake migrates north through the sediment brought in by the glacier. What remains are the sediment deposits, which can even cause sandstorms in strong winds.

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The next stop was Pickhandle Lake. The calm of this day allowed great photos.

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And then we arrived at the border with the United States. The chapter Canada was unfortunately already closed for the vacation.

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After a night in Tok the next day we went via Glennallen to Valdez. The good weather from yesterday was unfortunately gone again and it should get even worse on the way to Valdez.
Nevertheless, the morning light with the moving clouds offered a great view of the mountain ranges.

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But rain also has its good sides and that with the gold at the end of the rainbow was true at least a few times up here ;-)

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The nature to the south changed abruptly, because due to the amount of rain it can be called rainforest. Everything was green again.

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Sea otters and sea lions can be seen abundantly in Valdez. But since the weather was getting worse, I only have a picture of calving glaciers at Valdez Glacier Lake - you can see the weather yourself.

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By default, a ferry ride to Whittier would have come with a subsequent trip to Seward. However, since the ferry was reduced for reasons of economy, we took the bus back to Anchorage.
At least the weather was a little better, so you could get better pictures of the Horsetail and Bridal Veil Falls.

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The Thompson Pass also looked significantly nicer.

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And after the next rainbow the sun appeared again.

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Along the highway to Anchorage you also have a good view over several glaciers of the Chugach chain, such as the Matanuska glacier.

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And on the last of the 4,500 kilometers, nature changed again and again and made it far more difficult to say goodbye.

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The day for our flight back home came way to early. We used the access to the Alaska Airlines Lounge at Ted Stevens International Airport for some spotting.

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UPS; B747-400F; N575UP

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FedEx; B777F; N878FD

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Cathay Pacific Cargo; B747-800F; B-LJG

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Nippon Cargo; B747-800F; JA11KZ

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FedEx; MD11F; N523FE

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Northern Air Cargo; B737-400F; N403YK

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Everts Air Cargo; MD83F; N965CE

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Everts Air Cargo; DC-6B; N151

There was also a small treat and after the Beluga XL in Toulouse we also got the American counterpart here.

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Atlas Air; B747-400LCF; N780BA – Dreamlifter

We then went from the lounge to Gate B9, where Condor D-ABUL was already waiting for us. The crew came a little late and so the boarding of the B767, which was in last place, got a bit hectic.

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Then the pilot seemed to want to get the time out and so before the taxi onto the runway there was another hard braking because he almost missed the taxiway. After a dwell time of almost three minutes, we rolled onto runway 07L and took off with a last turn over the city.

There is a video of the return flight including a very beautiful sunrise:

https://youtu.be/qKT25cFrJRU

After only nine hours of flight we were back in Germany and the vacation was officially over.
Thanks for reading

Best regards

Christiane - UpInTheAir
 
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stl07
Posts: 2036
Joined: Mon May 01, 2017 8:57 pm

Re: Tripreport: Alaska and Yukon, Condor Business Class – Videos included

Sat Jan 18, 2020 11:48 pm

Yesss. I was waiting for someone to review the Condor Alaska flights. I have spent a month in SE Alaska so this trip brought back the awesome memories and reminded me of the grandness and silence that is Alaska/Northern Canada.

Too bad you didn't get to fly out of Whitehorse on Condor, I have heard it is awesome.
Instead of typing in "mods", consider using the report function.
Love how every "travel blogger" says they will never fly AA/Ethihad again and then says it again and again on subsequent flights.
 
EB9005
Topic Author
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Mar 18, 2007 9:29 pm

Re: Tripreport: Alaska and Yukon, Condor Business Class – Videos included

Sun Jan 19, 2020 4:38 pm

It was my pleasure ;-) We wanted to spend our two weeks there as late as possible. The latest tour was with start in Anchorage. We hope that Condor will continue its flights to Alaska and Yukon for several more years. And maybe in a few years we could imagine to fly to Whitehorse to – maybe with Condor in a new aircraft with a “state of the art” hard product.
 
devron
Posts: 337
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2011 11:56 am

Re: Tripreport: Alaska and Yukon, Condor Business Class – Videos included

Mon Jan 20, 2020 11:58 am

I took this flight two years ago on the way back after climbing denali. On the way back mine had a stop in fairbanks. I loved the flight as the sun never set (although we were flying through the night) and after 3 weeks on the mountain i got my first real good meal on the plane (was also flying business).

My denali trip report (I see the photo are broken) can be foudn here viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1396209&p=20471449&hilit=denali#p20471449
 
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BWIAirport
Posts: 909
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2016 10:29 pm

Re: Tripreport: Alaska and Yukon, Condor Business Class – Videos included

Tue Jan 21, 2020 12:59 am

Love your report! There's something awesome to me about long-haul flights from VFR destinations like this.
EB9005 wrote:
Then the pilot seemed to want to get the time out and so before the taxi onto the runway there was another hard braking because he almost missed the taxiway. After a dwell time of almost three minutes, we rolled onto runway 07L and took off with a last turn over the city.

My best guess, considering there was no other traffic and he slammed on the brakes as you said, is that the pilot was waiting for the brakes to cool down before takeoff. If they needed to reject and the brakes were still hot, they could have caught fire.
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EB9005
Topic Author
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Mar 18, 2007 9:29 pm

Re: Tripreport: Alaska and Yukon, Condor Business Class – Videos included

Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:08 pm

Yes that might be a possible reason. Didn't think about that. We thought it maybe could have been a coincidence of the late turn and a runway control at the same time.
 
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jcm165
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2018 8:32 am

Re: Tripreport: Alaska and Yukon, Condor Business Class – Videos included

Sun Feb 02, 2020 10:10 am

Amazing landscapes and pictures. I got an idea for a future trip :)
 
EB9005
Topic Author
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Mar 18, 2007 9:29 pm

Re: Tripreport: Alaska and Yukon, Condor Business Class – Videos included

Sun Feb 02, 2020 5:24 pm

Yes, with this trip a long –held dream came true. The local agent for the tour was Ruby Range Adventure. They offer several tours with more or less “action” but always in small groups.

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