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Only in Alaska: Flight-seeing Mt. McKinley
On my recent tour of Alaska, I signed up for a basic summit viewing flight tour through Denali Air. The ten-seater propeller Piper was much, much smaller than any plane I've ever been on, and the turbulence on take-off and landing was palpable. We all wore headsets with microphones, and, once we hit 12,000 feet, oxygen masks. The unpressurized cabin also required heat, and the pilot cranked it up (the temperature outside was around 25F below zero).
A flight tour of Denali doesn't come cheap, but it's hard to put a price on circling the summit of the world's tallest mountain. You can expect to pay several hundred dollars for a two-hour tour, and even more for options like a glacier landing. It doesn't matter whether you fly out of the park or Talkeetna; the summit looks the same no matter which direction you fly in from. Pop a Dramamine if you suffer from motion sickness, and don't forget your camera!
My trip through Alaska was sponsored by Princess Cruises, but the ideas and opinions expressed in this article are all my own.