2015 Excursions

June 2 - 6             Exploring Yukon Island (near Homer)
June 20 - 25         Nizina River Wild: Rafting Adventure
July 30 - Aug. 2    Talkeetna: The First 99 Years
Aug. 30 - Sept. 3   Sheep Mountain Lodge (on the Glenn

2016 Excursions are in planning.

Do participants need travel insurance?

We strongly recommend that all excursion participants purchase travel insurance from an insurance carrier of their own choice. If you must cancel your trip due to health or other problems, OLLI cannot refund payments unless the travel vendor agrees to refund what OLLI has already paid in advance. 

Here are links to two carriers that were recommended by our vendors:

Explore Yukon Island

Picture showing Yukkon Island beach and lodge
Yukon Island Lodge

June 2 - 6

Activity Level: Moderate

Yukon Island is the largest island in Kachemak Bay, seven miles to the south of Homer, AK. The island has dense woods, heavy vegetation, tidal zones, and abundant aquatic and terrestrial wildlife. It has been inhabited by humans for more than three thousand years, and is a significant archaeological site. The first night’s lodging will be at the historic Heritage Hotel in Homer. Day two includes a tour of the Oceans Center, a garden tour followed by a water taxi ride for a three-night stay on Yukon Island. Gretchen Bersch, retired university professor, will be your host at her lovely family homestead, Yukon Island Center. She will provide delicious meals and comfortable lodging. Be prepared to share rooms, use an outhouse, and forgo showers for sauna. Island activities include a hike to Elephant Rock to explore marine life with Beth Trowbridge, director of the Center of Coastal Studies. There will also be guided walks with archaeologist Peter Zollars and naturalist and ornithologist Dale Chorman as they teach about the Island's rich history, people, birds, plants, trees and wildlife. A kayak trip along the island shores on Friday is optional for an additional fee.

Cost: $715 double occupancy or $765 single room occupancy (Heritage Hotel only) includes accommodation, meals, water taxi and all tours.
Not included: Round trip transportation Fairbanks to Homer, dinner on June 2.
$440 non-refundable deposit due April 14; remainder due May 20. No refund for cancellation after May 20.

Nizina River Wild, Rafting Adventure

Blue raft on the Nizina river with an ice wall in the background
Rafting on the Nizina River

June 20 - 25

Activity Level: Active

Over the course of five days and five nights, you'll raft the entire 35-mile length of the Nizina River, from its iceberg-filled glacial headwaters to its narrow and spectacular lower canyon. You’ll be among the fortunate few to experience this scenic delight! Along the way you'll have time to hike to tumbling waterfalls, admire the towering Mile-High Cliffs, and learn about the glaciers, rocks and natural history from a local scientist. This trip is a unique combination of hiking and rafting, with comfortable raft-based camping and delicious meals prepared with fresh ingredients by your guides. You won’t want to miss the magnificent remote scenery and expert local knowledge that combine to make this a trip of a lifetime!

Cost: $2310 includes round trip air transportation from Chitina to Nizina River, professional guided service, safety equipment, meals and snacks, tent and dry bags.
Not included: sleeping bag and pad, personal equipment, gratuities for the guides  
$1130 non-refundable deposit and completed paperwork due March 16; remainder due May 4. No refund for cancellation after May 4.

For more information, explore this link:

Talkeetna: The First 99 Years

Picture showing the Susitna River and Mt. McKinley
Susitna River with Mt. McKinley

July 30 -   August 2

Activity Level: Moderate to Active

Both human and natural history are the focus of this four-day excursion to beautiful downtown
Talkeetna. Check-in on Thursday will be at the Swiss Alaska Inn, which provides lodging for your three-night stay. Through the Northern Susitna Institute’s “TALKeetna” presentation you’ll learn about pre-contact Dena’ina culture, homesteading life, and the history of Denali mountaineering, as they review the past 99 years of this little village at the edge of the wilderness. Excursions include a “Three River Tour” with Mahay’s Riverboat Adventures, a guided naturalist tour of the Talkeetna Lakes Trail as well as tours of the local historical museum, a blacksmith studio and the Don Sheldon Hangar. The Alaska Folk School will provide hands-on sampler classes led by talented craftspeople, and you’ll enjoy hanging out with the locals during the “Live at Five” summer concert series.  

Cost: $785 double occupancy or $935 single occupancy includes accommodation, riverboat tour, guided nature hike, lectures, tours, museum and class fees and Saturday lunch.
Not included: Round trip transportation Fairbanks to Talkeetna and to activities, meals except lunch on Saturday.
$435 non-refundable deposit due April 14; remainder due June 22. No refund for cancellation after June 22.

Sheep Mountain Lodge

Cabins of Sheep Mountain Lodge with mountains in the background
Sheep Mountain Lodge Cabins

August 30 - September 3

Activity Level: Moderate to Active

 Nestled high in the mountains by the headwaters of the Matanuska River, Sheep Mountain Lodge makes the perfect home base for multiple daily excursions and activities. Cabin amenities include private baths, showers, queen beds and a stunning view of the surrounding mountains. Master Gardener and native plant expert Anjanette Steer leads 30 - 120 minute hikes each morning, exploring the area’s rich biological diversity and ecosystem. The afternoon schedule includes guided rafting on the Matanuska River, as well as guided hiking on the glacier which is its source. For variety, attend a Shibori Art workshop with fiber artist Wendy Wood-Smith. Gather for a delicious dinner and a different presentation every evening: topics include local geology, Dall sheep, and a talk with 5-time Iditarod finisher Zack Steer. End your day by relaxing around a campfire at the gazebo.

Cost: $1245 double occupancy or $1500 single occupancy includes accommodation, meals, and gratuity for food service, workshops and all tours.
Not included: Round trip transportation Fairbanks to Sheep Mountain Lodge, and transportation to activities that start somewhere other than at the Lodge
$750 non-refundable deposit due May 27; remainder due July 29. No refund for cancellation after July 29.

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