Friday, July 1, 2011

Talkeetna, Alaska

It was kinda sad packing up and leaving this morning.  Denali is such a beautiful place.  When we were here in 2004 we only spent about 3 days at Denali and wished we’d had the time to stay longer.  Denali was one of the primary reasons for returning.   In a place as large as Alaska with so many awesome sites to see, spending ten days in one location is extravagant with precious time.  The past ten days have seemed like a vacation.  It’s been wonderful.

We also hated to leave our friends, Tony and Diana. They are headed in the same direction we are, however, so we’ll bump into to them again down the road.  So we gave them a hug and headed out in the rain.

The road between Denali and Talkeetna had a few rough spots and a few frost heaves, but all in all it was in pretty good shape.  Traffic was light and we had a pleasant drive.  There are several pull outs along the way with great views of Mt McKinley, weather permitting.  Today was not the day--too cloudy.

We are spending the night at Talkeetna Camper Park.  We stayed here in 2004, although we had forgotten that until we pulled in.  This is a small park and very crowded, especially this weekend.  Gene called a couple weeks ago and they only had one site available for tonight.  They’re full tonight and for the rest of the weekend.  Not sure what we’ll do or where we’ll go.  Playing that by ear.

I really like Talkeetna.  It was one of my favorite places from our previous visit and that is the reason why I insisted we not just drive by this time.  Some think Talkeetna was the model for the town in the TV series Northern Exposure.  That should give you a pretty good idea of what it’s like.  It is located 13 miles off the Parks Highway and some Alaska travelers don’t feel it has enough appeal to justify taking the time to come down here.  I like it for just that reason.

There are about 800 people who call Talkeetna home.  Many of them are artists and there are several galleries around town and locally crafted items for sell in many of the stores.

Denali Ranger Station

This is also the staging area for the mountain climbers.  The Denali National Park Ranger station for climbing permits is located here.  Because the climbers have to get to the mountain by air, there are several air taxi companies based at the Talkeetna Airport.  These air taxis also offer flightseeing trips for tourists.  While here, you can always tell when the mountain is out because there are a zillion little planes in the air.

We got parked and settled in Talkeetna Camper Park.  It’s a cozy little place with only about 35 sites.  The owner has made use of every little space and there are rigs parked in every direction.  It’s a tight fit and now that we’re in, we’re wondering how we’re gonna get out.  We’re paying $32 per night for a short back-in site with water and electric.  There are some longer back-ins and some pull-thru, but everybody has just water and electric.  There is a dump station somewhere in this mess.  The property backs up to the railroad track and the depot is just a stones throw away.  We’ve heard two trains so far.  Hope they don’t run all night.

The mountain is out--70 miles away

After dinner we did a little walk about town.  We heard the planes taking off so figured the mountain might be out.  There is a nice view down by the river, so we headed in that direction.  Yes, the mountain was out, but there was also a bald eagle perched in a tree.  He got more of my attention than the mountain.

I think that does it for today.  Thanks for tagging along.

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