Denali National Park and Talkeetna

Trip Start Jul 15, 2008
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Trip End Sep 15, 2008


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Flag of United States  , Alaska
Sunday, August 10, 2008

It was cloudy but not raining when I started south, crossed an interesting bridge and came into a two mile section of commercial overkill just before Denali National Park. It is so overdone!
There is a lot of white-water rafting in this area and I came across a couple of guys from one of the companies who were lowering one of their rafts into the river. A carpet is laid on the side of the hill, then one of the guys rides the raft down controlled by the fellow on top, then he paddles downstream a ways and joins his customers.
Just south is the Denali National Park and Preserve and it is known for its bus trips into the park for times of up to eight hours where people may see wildlife. It is all too orchestrated in my mind.
I came across someone's novel idea, a hotel shaped like an igloo. It is pretty interesting to look at, but I guess it wasn't a commercial success.
I rode in rain for the next while and came across one of the viewing parks to look at Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America. The chances of seeing this mountain peak is less than 15% and as you can see by my photograph, all I saw was white cloud!! This is the second time I have tried to see this mountain peak and it looks like I'll have to try again some other time in the future.
The rain really started up again as I continued south, so I turned into a town a few miles off the main highway, and found Talkeetna, an interesting bit touristy town with virtually all rooms taken. I found one at Latitude 62 Motel, a small room with 2 single beds, no phone, TV or internet.
The rain cleared out for a while so I was able to get a ticket for a jet boat tour on the local river. It was just at the beginning of the rid e when a small plane landed and took off from a very very small sandbar in the middle of the river. The pilot has nerves of steel.
We saw several bald eagles and one black bear along the shoreline.
We stopped at a place on the shore where there was an Indian village as well as a trappers camp set up. The tour guide carried a rifle as there are bears in the area! The Indian camp had a lean too with furs of bears and elk as beds, and an interesting round pit that was used to store salmon, stacked on top of each other with sticks separating them. I worked as a refrigerator. The trapper's cabin was very neat to visit. I t has no windows because bears will push their way into a building. The door only opens out, as bears don't pull things, they just push! There is a cache that looks like a tree house, but it is where any animals that have been killed are stored away from predators.
One thing I noticed is that the fireweed is very tall, in some cases over seven feet high. I've never seen it over three feet.
Distance travelled: 175 Miles 289 Km
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