Breathtaking Day!!!

Trip Start Jun 02, 2013
Trip End Jun 23, 2013

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Where I stayed
McKinley RV Park and Campground Healy
Read my review - 1/5 stars

Flag of United States  , Alaska
Thursday, June 6, 2013

We spent yesterday evening chatting with our new friends Paul, Christian and Mattie.  Paut and Christian just got back from climbing Denali.  They summitted on Friday and took 2 days to get back to base camp but had to wait out the weather to get a "ride" back to Talkeetna.  We really enjoyed their stories and have a greater appreciation for the training, planning, equipment and cajones that it takes to make this amazing trek.  They were able to see Denali up close and personal but our hopes of getting even a distant view were dwindling by the second.  

 We woke up to sunshine, though that wasn't unusual even at 11:30 at night.  Today was our travel day from Talkeetna to Healy outside Denali National Park.  We wanted to get an early start so that we could get to the Visitor's Center to schedule a Ranger Guided Discovery Hike on Saturday.  They only do 2 of these a day with 11 hikers each.  We decided to stop at the Denali overlook 1 mile outside of town one more time just on the off chance the the entire mountain would be in view.  We turned the corner and both of us stopped breathing.  There it was in all it's glory.  Needless to say we stopped, I pulled out my tripod and all 3 lenses and went to work.  

As it turns out, this first sighting of Denali was only one of many for the day.  It turned out to be a very rare instance when this spectacular vista was practically around every corner.  Since we were Northbound toward it we got to see it getting closer and closer.  We stopped at the Alaska Veteran's Memorial along the Parks Highway and went in for a look.  We had an interesting conversation with the people working there.  It turns out that most of the people working in the tourist related functions are seasonal workers who come up just for the summer.  Many are retired RV'ers who drive up, camp for free, and work part time at an attraction, camp ground or visitor center.  Sounds like fun except for the drive to get here.  This couple was from Alabama.  

 The clouds started to form a little in the afternoon only adding to the beauty of Denali and the surrounding forests.  As an added bonus we also saw several Moose, Caribou and even a Porcupine.  Did you know that porcupines climb trees???  We had no idea until we stopped about a few hundred yards past the one that we saw on the side of the road.  Rather than turn our 'beast" around we decided to walk back and get some pictures.  When we were about 100 yards away another car went by, turned around in s hurry and parked right next to it spooking it so that it took off....well sort of running.  That's when it climbed the tree.  As a result, I got some great pictures since it was, at that point, a captive audience.  

So after taking 6 hours to make a 3 hour drive, we pulled into Denali National Park and made our reservations for out Discovery Hike on Saturday.  So far we are the only ones signed up.  By this time we were starving and decided to stop at Prospectors Pizza which was recommended by a couple that we met while caribou and Denali viewing on the side of the road.  We had the "Not the Lower 48" Pizza with Ground Elk, Caribou sausage and Buffalo Mozarella, and the "Soldotna"  with blackened Halibut, carmelized onions and fresh tomatoes.  All I can say is YUM!!!!

We headed to Healy to the McKinley RV park.  What can I say about this establishment.....great view, good WiFi....very rustic.  Location, location, location.  Tomorrow we have our "Stampede Trail" ATV adventure.  We will be riding the "Into the Wild" trail.  More details tomorrow.  

So far this trip is everything that we had hoped for and more.  Love to all...we miss you...just a little.  

PS. For those who were curious, the Bloody Mary Mix was fine.  It was in a plastic bottle.  Just scared the @#$% out of us an rolled around a lot.  We are sipping it as I write this.  

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Steven on

That pizza sounds tasty. Hope you were able to get their recipe.

Gary on

really enjoying you daily blog

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