Sunday, October 21, 2012

alaska part I

Last month, we seized an opportunity to visit our friend, Sarah, and traveled north. Way north. To Alaska.

We landed in Anchorage and spent our first night there. We had great views of the bay from our hotel room.

The next morning, I somehow convinced Steve to go for a short run with me along the coastal trail. Although it was drizzling, it felt great to run at sea level again. Steve did get a little tired of me saying "wow, I run fast here!" over and over again.

Sadly, despite the warning, we did not spot any moose along the trail.

Perhaps it was because they saw my neon orange jacket coming from a mile away.

After we cleaned up from the run, we hopped in our rental car and headed north to Talkeetna. I had read a little bit about Talkeetna, I'm so glad we decided to ditch Anchorage and head there. I love Talkeetna, and would move there if Steve would join me.

After checking in to our B&B, we hit "downtown" Talkeetna in the rain. First stop: Denali Brewing Company for some local beer.

Then we wandered the main drag, which may have only been a couple of blocks but was full of character.

Then it was time to eat. We had a few options, and we had a hard time choosing. 

Something we noticed: Man vs. Food has somehow managed to eat his way around the entire state. Being fans, we decided to take him on his dining recommendation, though we feasted on caribou and crab legs and not a five pound burger like he did.

The next day, we woke up to another rainy morning and made our way north.


We met the bus bound for Camp Denali and departed around 1 p.m.  Camp Denali sits at the end of the 95-mile park road, and the road isn't open to public vehicles. You either take one of the NPS buses, or if you're like us, a bus that operates from one of the wilderness lodges inside the park.

We timed our visit, based on Sarah's recommendations, for the fall colors, and they did not disappoint.

Through the rain, which quickly switched to snow, we spotted two grizzlies, caribou, and dall sheep.  About halfway to camp, we stopped for a picnic dinner. A very wet and snowy picnic dinner.

It snowed almost the entire way in to camp. But it just made the scenery all the more dramatic.

If you are afraid of heights, this drive might bother you a wee bit.

As we approached camp, we caught a fleeting glimpse of a wolf as he ran right past our bus. And then we had a nice, up-close view of two caribou as we drove the final few miles to Camp Denali.

To be continued...