Denali National Park
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Where I stayed
After that we camped on the spit at Homer, on the Kenai Peninsula for 1 night. We then went back to Seward, in the rain, to meet up with Andy's brother and family. It was very basic camping - cheek to jowl with half of America... 2 toilets/2 showers...For about 3 large campsites. The RV's have their own facilities but still! .... The awful weather didnt seem to bother our fellow campers... They all sat outside in the drizzle around their campfires on the seashore and chatted to everyone..
From Seward we made our way to Denali National Park ( in the middle of Alaska), and on the way stopped at a quaint place (tourist trap) called Talkeetna and had a lovely time just looking at things. We were camped at place in Willow. My tourist brochure says that this is the start of the Iditerod.... So now I am really confused... Seward boasts about being the start.....will have to google this and find out where it actually starts.... Have realized that most of Alaskan tourist things only happen between May and September, so things are very expensive, probably so that they make their annual income in just a few months. Think that a place like Talkeetna just closes down completely for the winter, as it was all just tourist shops, accommodation and activities
Denali was just too fantastic. We arrived and immediately made bookings to go white water rafting (category 3/4) down the Nenana River. I only went after they assured me that they had never had any fatalities! It is a glacial river and the name actually means "no river" because it is mainly glacial silt and no fish. It was just above freezing point as the water comes straight off the glacier. The water is a sort of muddy blue color. It was a spectacularly exciting experience. We all had to put on dry suits and then more thick booty things and hoods for the cold. The dry suit was so tight around my neck and wrists, and felt SOOoo hot on the bus to the launch point, but after the first "glacial facial" (huge wave of water onto the face and body) at the beginning of the trip, I felt quite cool. We only got off the water after 10pm and it was like the middle of the day... Stuart was very seasick and spent his time on the rubber duck, hanging over the side - getting lots of glacial facials that he really welcomed! Shame! We just had to hold him in over the rapids as we couldn't really stop. The next day we were up at 6:30am for a bus trip 60 miles into the park. The trips get booked up quite quickly. No one is allowed to drive after a certain point, so the only way you can get around is with the busses that run very regularly. We took the 8 hour trip, and had a wonderful trip as our driver was very informative. We saw bears, caribou, moose, and Dall Sheep. The road is a series of hair-pin bends with a very steep drop down the mountain
We now have wifi - at a place near Fairbanks - Chena Hot Springs. Can't get it at our pretty basic campsite... With trillions upon trillions of mosquitos.... So are sitting at the activity centre. We were in the hot springs earlier and it was lovely. It's outside and quite natural, and it started raining very heavily with thunder and lightening while we were in the springs...
Parted ways with Stuart and family. They are off south to find some salmon fishing, and we are headed north. We won't have time to get as far north as Prudhoe Bay as we had planned, but just want to set food (just noticed that I said food instead of foot - Freudian slip?) across the Arctic Circle. There are basically 2 ways of driving there: from Fairbanks along the Dalton Highway, which is a pretty awful, rough route used by those guys in the ice trucking series, or we could go back to Dawson City, in the Yukon and go on a better road , but longer. SO..... Decisions! We think that the time to go is perhaps on 4th July as MAYBE the truckers will be going home for Independance Day... Who knows....
We are now getting short of time to make our way back to either Salt Lake , or California. We have to turn south in the next few days.