Part of the fun of traveling can be the anticipation that comes with the plan! This older watercolor of mine represents an elusive lifetime hankering to go see Alaska, which up until recently was still just a hankering! But goals take action. With the centennial birthday of the National Park Service approaching in 2016 came a good reason to try! Last spring I took the first step with a reservation for my own cabin in Camp Denali; it requires a year ahead to get your place in there, reached by their 90 mile bus ride from the train/ park entrance. The bus leaves on a Monday so I have to be there ahead; lodging had to be arranged for that weekend prior. The other big goal of this trip of course has to be Anchorage-I decided I wanted nine days in the city area to rest, then take in much of the hiking paths with views of the Cook Inlet, the volcanoes distant west as well as the Chugach mountains to the east, southeast! There’s plenty of culture to take in too. I want to do the day trip to Whittier for the boat cruise into Prince William Sound for the glaciers, fjords & wildlife. By train I’m on my own with all the connections thus I decided to flight see over Seward, the Kenai Fjords NP instead of a much further train ride. I’m paring down the expenses to realistic expectations so the Katmai bear watching trips at $800/ day will have to pass. The Alaska Zoo will have animals to see. Denali surely will offer glimpses of caribou, bear, dall sheep, mtn. goat and birdlife, especially if I get up, out of my cabin solo before breakfast with a bell attached to my knapsack to scare grizz away from me! Standing still will get me the local birds. I’ve my train reservations completed, paid for. Earlier this month I paid for my plane ticket. I’ve been purchasing books & maps on line, buying the necessary items like raingear, a new pair of boots and a survival bivy/emergency shelter to have with me if I miss a connection somewhere. I figure the total for this first time Alaska trip will be about $6000. Denali rises 20,320′ at 4 miles up from sea level or about 18,000′ vertical from the 2000′ level in the park-it’s massive acreage spans 6 million acres-twice the area of 3 million acre Death Valley! Nine months yet to go!