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Live the adventures of Dan Walker's travels through reading his travel journal. The travel journals are listed below in descending order of date. To search the travel journals, use the keyword search at the bottom of the page.

Journal Entry:

Thursday, September 29, 2016 16:28:17

Arctic NW passage 2016: 3 - Anchorage, USA to Costa Rica

Friday, September 23, 2016

Last night after the flight we were pretty tired, so went straight to bed. This morning I slept until 10:30 AM, missing the buffet breakfast Quark paid for. We were able to say goodbye to old and new friends from the ship while waiting for the rental car Jens had ordered. We thought we were at the Garden Court, but it was the Embassy Suites, so the rental went to the wrong place. Once notified of the change they arrived promptly.

It was a lovely, sunny day. The drive to Girdwood where the deluxe Alyeska Ski Resort and Hotel is located was beautiful, following an inlet from ocean into high, snow capped mountains. Everywhere silver birch trees were clothed in autumn colours. Jens had arranged a suite overlooking ski runs and half a dozen snowy peaks. While we were having lunch in the pub a friend from the ship, Max Ostergaard, found us to say goodbye. He and his wife Henna were on a tour that included a ride to the restaurant at the top of the hotel gondola lift.

In the evening Jen's friend Steve Halverson picked us up to go to a large hall belonging to the resort, where the annual Oktoberfest was in full swing. There was an 8 piece oom-pa-pa band, people dancing, a cafeteria with schnitzel, wursts, sauerkraut and other German specialities plus special Oktoberfest beer.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Jens had booked a flight to Danali, the highest mountain in North America at 20,310 ft (6,190 meters). It was formerly called Mt. McKinley, a name given by a prospector in 1896, however in 1975 it was officially changed to the original native name. It is the third most prominent and isolated peak in the world, after Everest and Aconcagua. We drove an hour and a half to the seaplane base but they recommended not taking the 3 hour flight due mountain clouds. The weather was forecast to clear, so we booked again for Monday.

There is a good flight museum next door where we spent a hours looking at aircraft that helped develop Alaska, and reading stories of some of the pioneers who flew in these sometimes hostile skies. There was a film on the part of WWII fought in the Alaskan Aleutian Islands, where the Japanese captured two islands. I didn't know there were so many killed in the deadly land, air and sea battles. We chatted for some time with two volunteers who restore planes for the museum - they are proud that all aircraft on display are air worthy.

We drove through the downtown area of Anchorage, which has a population of about 350,000, had a good lunch at a diner, and then back to the lodge where we both had a siesta. In the evening Steve picked us up to take us to dinner with his son and daughter, and some other friends of Jens. His son, at age 23, is very well travelled and we had a good time talking of places we have both been and most people haven't, such as Iran Jaya, the Amazon and so on. He is a professional extreme skier, and his sponsors pay for trips to various places to ski such as the Caucus Mountains, and other unusual places. He works in commercial fishing in the summer to put away some money.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Jens and Steve headed off river fishing early this morning - I slept in. They apparently caught some fish, but had all four seasons of weather including snow. I caught up on various things, then went to the small town of Girdwood for beer and food in the local pub, where I read the Sunday edition of the very good local newspaper. The fisherman did not get back until late, so I bought a bottle of scotch to thaw Jens when he arrived. He's still coughing and does not sound good,

Monday, September 26, 2016

Jens headed over to Steve's for breakfast, but I had a quick bite in the hotel and went back to bed for a couple of hours, having not slept well. We then checked out of the hotel and drove back to Rust Air where they said it looked good for sightseeing to Danali. It was better than good, visibility was unlimited with blue skies.

Our pilot had a 6 seat Cessna 206 on floats ready to go for Ryan, a fellow from Boston, and us. Once over the meandering rivers and lake spotted flat country we flew over glaciers and around the mountains. The Ruth Glacier alone is 20 miles (32.2 miles) long and 3,000 feet (915 meters) thick. It was breathtaking. We circled the high peak, dipping down into craggy, snow filled alpine valleys. On the way back we landed at Swan Lake where we stretched our legs on a dock and took more photos. Danali Mountain is located in 4 million acre Danali National Park.

After lunch at a restaurant on the same lake as the float plane base we returned the rental car and checked in for our flights. It was disappointing to find there was no lounge at the airport, but they had free wifi so we settled into a bar & grill to drink beer and catch up on email. Jens saw me off and then waited for his flight about and hour and a half later.

The American Airlines flight was on time and smooth, with good service. I can't sleep sitting up, however, so passed the night reading on and off. We arrived a little early, but had a long wait as there was no ground crew to get the jet-way to the plane. It was not yet 6 AM when I settled into an Admiral's Club Lounge for the 9 ½ hour wait for my final flight. Surprisingly, arriving on a domestic flight did not require security or immigration before the international flight to Costa Rica. I had enough to do to keep me busy.

The final flight was ready to go early, but there were no ground crew again, and once there was they noticed a dent in an access cover so insisted on repairing it. The hour we had to sit there was made tolerable, as our on board crew opened the bar and kept everyone in business well provided with the beverage of their choice. The rest of the flight was normal, arriving an hour late. I phoned Marilynn from the airport and was picked up shortly afterward.

One trip to Argentina is planned for November, but I've come home to big problems as the main computer at the office crashed, burning out the hard drive on which all the backups were located. All entries for a lot of companies have to be re-entered from hard copies for June, July August and September.

In addition the RCMP and "justice" department in Canada continue to successfully prevent a court order to get a Canadian telephone record that could lead to the kidnappers of our son. He was released, but has been in hiding for almost a year. I've been working with the criminal police and justice department in Costa Rica, who have repeatedly requested the record of threatening calls made to our son since last October. The Costa Rican justice department tells me Canada is one of the least cooperative countries in the world to help foreign police solve major crimes against Canadians, something most people would call obstruction of justice.