Location: Talkeetna, Alaska
Dates: 8/31/2013 – 9/1/2013
After our two days in the backcountry of Denali, we boarded the train for a four hour trip south to Talkeetna. We had reservations at the Alaskan Lodge for our last nights stay in Alaska. This was a very nice and modern complex just a few miles outside of the town limits. The lodge had a shuttle doing the downtown loop on an hourly schedule. So, getting around was very easy.
This was the front porch area of the lodge. If the weather was nice, you would be able to have a great view of Denali. Unfortunately, it was off and on rain while we were here, so no views of the mountain for us.
The lodge had a huge lobby area with this large stone fireplace in the middle. It was fairly cool/cold while we were here and they had a fire going the entire time.
On Sunday morning we were scheduled to do a flight to the Denali base camp and land on a glacier. This was with the Talkeetna Air Taxi company. That morning we woke up to drizzle and heavy cloud cover. We were hoping that the weather would clear for the trip, but it never happened. So, they cancelled our flight which was kind of a bummer. We were really looking forward to this adventure and landing on a glacier, but there’s really not much you can do about the weather.
So, instead we went to downtown Talkeenta and walked around. This is a very “interesting” and quirky town. It’s somewhat touristy, but not over the top. There’s still many locals hanging out and doing business in the downtown area, so it comes across as a true Alaskan town. From the few locals that we met, they are very accepting of the tourists. I’m sure they realize that tourism brings in a lot of money to the local area But I’m also sure they are somewhat relived when the busy season winds down and they can get their town back to themselves.
We had to stop in at the Denali Brewing Company beer garden. We were there with a few other tourists and a few locals and one large (very friendly) dog! We tried a few of their home brewed beers and had to give them two thumbs up!
On Saturday night we ate dinner at the West Rib. The name of the restaurant comes from one of the approaches the climbers take when trying to get to the top of Mt Denali. It sounds like this is one of the more difficult routes to the summit.
Talkeetna is the closest town (with an airport) to Denali/Mt McKinley. So, it is the starting and ending point of for all the climbers attempting to climb this mountain. I believe all climbers must check in at the local ranger station in Talkeetna before they fly to the base camp.
So, the West Rib restaurant is a popular place for the climbers to visit. The walls are covered with pictures and climbing gear. Plus all the climbers sign their name on the walls. We had a great dinner here and it gave us a little taste of the local climbing culture.
Here’s just a few random pictures of the Talkeetna area.
And our last adventure of our Alaska trip was a raft ride down the Talkeetna River with the Denali View Raft Adventures. Our guide picked us up in the downtown area and drove about 5 miles upriver to our put in location. Of course, it was rainy, cold and grey out, but we really enjoyed our float downstream. Julie and I were the only ones signed up for a trip today (hmmm, what’s wrong with us??!). Our guide was a very nice young guy who obviously had a love for the out doors and the beauty of Alaska. He made the trip interesting.
Here’s Julie with her many layers on and the rain poncho supplied by the rafting company. They also gave us boots, so they wanted to keep us dry and warm. We didn’t experience any white water, but the water was flowing pretty fast from all the recent rains.
There were many locations where we would pull up to a sand bar and see bear prints. I guess the evening before our guide had seen some bears in this area, but we didn’t have any sightings.
We came across many beaver ponds on our float downstream. There’s many smaller rivers flowing into the Talkeetna river, which made for some great beaver habitats.
We headed back to the Alaskan lodge for lunch before we boarded the train back to Anchorage. From anchorage we would fly out at 10:00pm for a red eye back to Florida.
We decided to do one last hike since the Alaska lodge had some trails around their property. Below is the gps track of that hike. Of course it rained on us the entire time, so it was a fitting end to our time here.Talkeetna Alaska - Alaska Lodge Hike at EveryTrail
All the pictures of the Alaskan Lodge and the town of Talkeetna can be found at this link.
This is the last blog post of our trip to Alaska. All the previous posts can be found here:
Finally got the YouTube videos edited and posted. So, here they are:
Alaska Train Anchorage to Seward
Kenai Fjords Tour
Kenai Fjords Tour
Kenai Fjords Northwest Glacier
Denali Park Road
Alaska Train Anchorage to Denali
Blueberry Hill Hike
Wickersham Dome Hike
Wonder Lake Bike Ride