Going to Brooks Camp in Katmai National Park

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Our weekend trip to Honolulu in 2005 for $299/person for airfare and hotel set the benchmark for great weekend trips.  Brother/sister/friend fared even better on that trip at $99/person.  But we've got a new winner to someplace more out of the way…southwest Alaska.

  • 20K Alaska miles each sent us to King Salmon, Alaska for a three-day weekend—that's a $900+ ticket making it excellent award value.
  • We worked an overnight stopover in Anchorage into the award and spent the night at the Sheraton Anchorage.  Instead of $300+, Starwood Cash & Points are excellent value—2,800 points + $30.
  • $176 / person for the float plane from King Salmon to Brooks Camp in Katmai National Park via KatmaiAir
  • $8 / person / night for camping at Brooks Camp booked through recreation.gov.
  • $6.50 / pint of Alaskan Amber at Brooks Camp.

Point being that the guts of this trip provided ridiculous bang for the buck (save for the beer prices, of course).  Brooks Camp does require some advanced planning—July is the peak salmon run so we booked the campground back in January when the reservations opened up, and the place was totally booked within three days.

I've heard that to stay at the $700+/night lodge you need to book at least 18-months out.  But if you're comfortable camping, the campground is quite nice, so have no worries about it and save your money.

So the itinerary was:

  • Friday night: Alaska to Anchorage; pizza/beer at Moose's Tooth; overnight at Sheraton Anchorage
  • Saturday: 9am flight to King Salmon on PenAir; noon KatmaiAir to Brooks Camp on an Otter; chasing bears
  • Sunday: Valley of 10,000 Smokes tour; chasing bears
  • Monday: chasing bears; 5pm Otter back to King Salmon; 6:10pm PenAir to ANC; 8:30pm Alaska Airlines to SEA; back at home at 2am.

In no way at all are our vacations relaxing—but who needs that?  Our friends Keith and Eliza of desertminute.com fame were suckered into joining us on this—hopefully we're still friends.

The full photo galleries can be found over at http://photos.klugusamy.com, but the highlights will be in the following posts.  And if you're not hip to the geography, marker A is King Salmon and C is Brooks Camp:

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Another fun link to keep track of is a Twitter page updated by a ranger at Brooks Camp.


Hey Lillie! Awesome BLOG! So many beautiful bears! Amazing prices too! How'd you find such deals?

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