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Alaska - Day 7&8

Disembarked at Whittier which turned out to be just a dock and a train track.  We got off early and got on the train which headed north past Anchorage to a Princess lodge at a small town called Talkeetna.  The trip was a bit slow but the scenery was nice.  Not spectacular but nice.  We contrasted the views with those we saw when we traveled North to South on from Denali to Seward and were disappointed  a bit.

We wandered about the town, got some lunch and headed back to the Lodge.  As we  trundled off to our room we could see the bottom of “The Mountain”, aka Denali, aka Mount McKinley. Last time we were here the clouds were so thick we saw nothing of the Mountain. The lodge was picturesque with incredible mountain views.  The room was motel 6 but the TV got FOX so no complaints. At 1221, I experienced a 5.2 earthquake. I say I because Mei Mei missed the whole event. The bed vibrated and the curtains rattled violently for 10-15 seconds.  I remember thinking some action should be taken but couldn’t remember what so just went back to sleep.  We hit breakfast at 7:30 and on the way to the restaurant were rewarded with beautiful clear skies and a full view of the mountain.  We all took about 1737 pictures because this was truly the rare event.  BTW eggs benedict for breakfast checked in at about 6.  No lemon juice.

We boarded the bus for about 2 1/2 hours to the Princess Denali Lodge.  Had lunch and then boarded the bus for the Denali Park tour.  Can you believe it was a school bus…?  Not too bad though. I had forgotten how spectacular the views were.  Long gorgeous river valleys with mountains on both sides.  Rain falling in some areas while bright sun shine in other parts, all in the same picture.  It was a 5 hour trip.  We saw a moose in the first 15 minutes but then just the occasional fox or rabbit. No bears.  On the way out we spotted a fox carrying a large bird down the road.  It went off the path and suddenly a bunch of little foxes ran out to greet dinner bearing parent.  Then for about 10 minutes we watched the little foxes scampering around and playing.  Finally the whole family gathered on a ridge and looked down at the bus as if to say we are done, ready for dinner and watching you now.

Back to the lodge for dinner.  The clouds were too thick for further viewing of the mountain.  Good dinner overlooking the terrace which in turn overlooked the river with mountains in the background.  Doesn’t get any more stunning than that.

Tomorrow we hit Fairbanks for a river cruise and overnight.  We fly out Tuesday evening. Won’t be sorry to get home but this phase of the trip has turned out well.

aa© Robert Graham 2012