Walkabout Gourmet Adventures









Guided Walking Holidays
Alaska guest review

Traveller notes Alaska adventure

An entirely different perspective



Guided Walking Holidays

Our heartfelt thanks to Graeme and Wendy for organising and so ably leading our group on hikes into such stupendously vast and pristine terrains which make up the great State of Alaska. We had enjoyed two previous visits to our northern neighbours, but this gave us an entirely different perspective.

Booking: Our NZ friends had recommended this company to us, having done several hikes in the past. Trish in the office took our on-line booking, let us know when deposits and full payment were required, and kept us updated on any changes.

The Hike: it was our first ever hike, and although seniors, we are extremely physically fit and active long-distance cyclists/walkers. On reading the 'grading' of hikes in brochure, we felt confident we could manage the at times mountainous, rocky terrain. This proved to be correct. The choice of hikes was varied; from Wendy's beautiful Homestead and Little Bear Cabins, to the Matanuska Glacier (spectacular), the Triple Lakes Trail; an alternative Seward Trail - due badly behaved bears on original choice; the Homer Spit walk - we managed hiking it both ways with a very welcome cold beer at the Salty Dawg Saloon, and the Grewingk Glacier Lake Trail - smoke from the many forest fires on the Kenai Peninsula giving a very ethereal look and wonderful photo ops with the many icebergs on the lake. At times the almost overwhelming vastness of the mountains, fjords and glaciers reduced one to feeling very insignificant and such a tiny spec in the Universe.

Driving and Free Days: Very comfortable, roomy, air conditioned vans and wonderful commentaries from Graeme and Wendy as to points of interest along the way, including many pullovers for photo-ops, espressos and ice-creams at coffee hutches, and loos; fun picnic lunches after a quick dash in to 'Freddy M's' for grub. Highlights included a visit to the Iditarod Headquarters, and a later visit to Seavey's Kennels in Seward - cuddling adorable puppies and summer mushing - hilarious - these dogs just want to run. The Northwestern Fjord day say seeing multiple breathtakingly majestic glaciers; Orca and Humpback whales leaping, sea otters, sea lions and seals plus many species of birds. Trip on the Danny J to Saltry's Restaurant also a highlight. Denali Park bus trip staggering in its grandeur and vastness. The entire trip we were blessed with clear blue skies and sun, so all mountains seen in their glory. Several swims in Kachemak Bay refreshing!

Meals: Overall excellent, (Buddha Bowls excepted!!) but feel term 'Gourmet' better suited to European cuisine than Alaskan - the latter has more hearty fare as befits the State. Especially enjoyed the variety of the freshest fish - halibut, salmon, prawns, king crab as well as tender elk and beef steaks, Crème brûlée and chocolate truffles. The restaurants chosen were a good cross section of Alaskan life and fare. Very disappointed to have missed the BBQ moose burgers at Wendy and Woody's homestead due to circumstances entirely beyond their control - a good reason to return.

Fellow Hikers: We felt our group number of 10 was perfect - made up of 4 couple and 2 singles. Our NZ friends and ourselves Kiwi/Canadians, and 6 Aussies, were extremely compatible and had great fun. Thanks to you all for your company and camaraderie.

Accommodation: Way and above exceeded expectations, with Sheep Mountain Lodge and Land's End Hotel getting top billing.

Drivers/guides: Since returning home have been experiencing withdrawal symptoms - from congenial fellow hikers, Graeme's dry humour and Wendy's stories - you must write that book Wendy. The driving was first class, even running the gauntlet of forest fires and near nil visibility. We were always kept well informed as to the next day’s events; what gear, food, drinks, bug repellent, sunscreen, clothing etc we needed; what time to meet where, and not to forget our all-important glacier, bear, noxious plants and general safety briefings. That our safety was paramount was evident every step of the way.

In closing, have to give the highest kudos to our guide Wendy.

Wendy embodies boundless energy, encouragement, enthusiasm, a comprehensive knowledge of Alaskan flora and fauna, fish and mammals, birds, dogs, mushing, glacier guiding, bear safety and strategy, and an ability to pass on her knowledge to us in such a manner it allowed us to absorb it, (well maybe after a couple of failed tests!!) Her passion for her adopted country and husband Woody all shines through.

Wendy is one of those rare beings who possess absolute joie de vivre; hilarious risk humour, the ability to adapt to any given set of circumstances at any time. She is a natural leader whose aura envelopes all who are under her watch - she is the Sir Ernest Shackleton of the 21st century.

Future Walkabout hikers 'Into the Wilds of Alaska' can rest assured they are in good hands with Wendy. She absolutely made the trip - we had a blast - Namaste.

Rae from Nanaimo B.C. Canada [2019]

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