Thursday, June 28, 2012

Talkeetna and Anchorage


Yesterday we drove from Fairbanks to Talkeetna. As I previously wrote, Hollie is on a quest to get a clear view of  Mt McKinley. When we were here last year, we took a bus tour 82 miles back into Denali National Park and it was a cloudy day so we did not see it at all. I think that is the case 2 out of every 3 days. Like last year, when we got to Denali National Park, it was raining so we decided to drive on to Talkeetna.

This is a really neat town that is probably most famous for two things. The most impressive to me is that it is the Ranger Station where all people who are going to attempt a climb of Mt McKinley have to attend a class and make all their plans known before they are allowed to get on a plane that will deposit them at about 7,000 feet. From there they will take 2-3 weeks if they are able to make the round trip to the top. Most people do not make it. There have been 6 deaths this year and right now there are about 200 people on the mountain. The other claim to fame for Talkeetna is that the locals say it was the basis for the town in the TV series, Northern Exposure.

It is a very small town, with lots of unique shops and restaurants. It is also a side trip for many Alaskan cruises. There are many packages, one of which has passengers arrive by cruise ship and then get on a train or bus and go to Denali. Many stop in Talkeetna for several hours.

We are at the only decent campground in the town. It is located very close to the train depot and it is neat to see the passenger trains arriving and departing. Tomorrow, if the weather is good, we plan to take a 100 plus mile round trip on one of the last remaining “flag” trains in the US. The way it works is people flag or wave down the engineer and can get on or off anywhere along the route. It only runs once a day so you better have firm plans as to what you will be doing once you get off. This is about as remote as Alaska gets without actually being in backcountry.

This morning when I ran, the temperature was in the low 50s. I forgot to check when I started but when I finished just after noon, the temperature was 56 degrees. I had a really nice, but very slow, 7 mile run where I just meandered around the town. Most of the roads that I ran on were hard packed dirt.

We have met many nice people, many of whom want to talk to us about our Scamp trailer. During one conversation today, Hollie and the man were discussing things that can go wrong when towing a trailer or driving a large RV and towing a car. This guy told us that one time he was driving along and he noticed that his jeep that he was towing behind his large RV was not there. Something in the hitch had broken and the jeep had come loose. Luckily, no damage was done to the jeep and it had just come to a stop on the side of the road. I hope we don’t have any problems remotely similar to that.


It started raining early this morning and the cloud cover is very low, so we decided that we did not want to do the train ride. Instead, we will drive to Anchorage where we will have access to a Family Y where we can workout and shower. When we left Talkeetna, the temperature was 50 and it was still raining.

BTW, if you look at some of my earlier posts, I have now edited them to include some pictures. Check back later and I should have more pictures included to math previous posts.

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