The three guys from Indiana, the Swiss guy from Wisconsin, and I drove our motorcycles from Fairbanks to Denali National Park Thursday. Denali is west of Fairbanks, about half way to Anchorage. Denali is always a highlight of any trip to Alaska because it is the highest mountain in North America, and one of the highest in the world.
Once we got to Denali National Park, we set up camp and promptly signed up to take a bus trip to see the park. The bus is the only way people are allowed to visit the park, and it takes people a long way, dropping them off if they want to hike and explore.
We were disappointed that we could not see the actual Denali Mountain. As usually happens on almost every day of the year, the sky was cloudy and the big mountain was covered. We were able to see quite a lot of the Alaskan Range of mountains, though. They looked like this------
These caribou antlers were just lying there on the ground. I couldn't resist adding them to the picture. They came off one of these guys-------
He was just trotting along trying to look cool, but I think he looks rather motley myself. I guess he will look better by Autumn when he will need to impress the women caribou. Caribou, apparently, do not shed their antlers like the whitetail deer back home do. The reason I think this is because every set of antlers I found in Denali still had the skull attached. Quite a thing to lose your head over.
This big boy was sleeping just off the road, but he decided to get up and amble around a little. Look at how wet he is. I would get up too if I were being rained on like he was.
The next day, it was time for Bob from Wisconsin to head home. His vacation was over. While he headed back east, the rest of us continued on to Talkeetna. This funky little town is where all the mountain climbers start from. They fly from there and land on a glacier on the mountain, and then start their climb from the plane. It usually takes them about three weeks to do the total climb.
There was a time, not all that long ago, when I would have wanted very much to climb that mountain too. Sigh!
They say that only about 16% of the people who visit Denali get to actually see it, but look-- there it is.
I took this picture beside the river that flows along at the end of the main street in Talkeetna. Now I belong to the 16% club! Wow! How far away would you say that mountain is in this picture? Give up? It is 60 miles away. Big, isn't it. It is over 20,000 feet high. That's almost 4 miles high. Wow, again!
It was lucky for me that I ran into those guys from Indiana because they have friends who have friends who have --- In other words, they have connections everywhere. One of these connections has a lodge in Talkeetna and graciously let us use it. We did laundry. Slept late. Explored the artsy little town. It was great.
Today, the Indiana crew had to start thinking about heading back home and back to work and responsibilities. As for me, I am moving on down the highway. I left them studying their maps and discussing their plans, and I headed on for the seacoast.
So here I am, in Anchorage, beside the ocean. It is time for me to be thinking about where I am going to stay tonight. Time to close down and start looking on the internet for a campground. Tomorrow, I am off to Seward.