8/9/2014 – Flight seeing to Talkeetna
The Alaskan way to see Alaska is by air, so when we were offered a flight seeing trip from one of our awesome hosts, of course we said yes (we actually had multiple offers from different people to go up, it was amazing). Since moving to Alaska, Teresa has been bitten by the flying bug, and now has a pilot’s license, and belongs to an aero-club (as far as I can tell, I should never take flying lessons. It seems to be as addicting as motorcycling, only more expensive). Thus, we hopped in a very spacious Cessna 182 (seriously, most spacious back seats of any four-seater I’ve been in, and I’m always in the back) on Saturday morning and took off in search of views of Denali.
I liked flying over the Alaskan landscape, and seeing all of the cabins on lakes that are inaccessible by road. It’s apparently quite popular in Alaska to have a small float plane, and use it to travel to your remote cabin on a lake.
The top of Denali/Mt. McKinley has been hidden from view in the clouds our entire trip. We had one sunny day where we were in a position to see it, and rode right by the lookout, not realizing until much later that we had missed our chance to actually see North America’s highest peak. The weather on Saturday didn’t look promising, but the sky around the park was clear. While not totally free from clouds, we did finally get to see the peak and most of the mountain at various times. The views from the plane of the glacier, mountains, and surrounding landscape were amazing. This, below, is the famous Denali:
Since we had skipped visiting the small town of Talkeetna, Teresa offered to land there so we could walk around town and grab lunch (how cool is that). Talkeetna bills itself as a tiny little drinking town with a fishing problem, and from what I can tell, also a tourist problem. I still liked it, and am glad we had a chance to walk around and check it out, although I don’t think Kevin was won over. He did, however, like lunch. There are definitely a disproportionate number of good places to eat for the size of the town.
We hadn’t originally planned to go flight-seeing, but jumped at the chance to go with a new friend, and I’m really glad we did. Thanks Teresa!
8/10/2014 – 372 mi – Ride to Chitina and Valdez
I originally wanted to ride down to Whittier and take the ferry to Valdez, but the rain wouldn’t let up along the coast, and Sunday proved to be beautiful and sunny along the Glenn Highway. So, we skipped the ferry (I would probably get sea sick anyway), and rode in beautiful sunny weather towards Glenallen, and then south to Chitina. Since the weather was so nice, we decided to ride the dirt road into Mcarthy and Kennicott and camp for the night. Except that didn’t actually happen. We waited in the longest construction zone ever, only to find out The Milepost had lied to us, and there wasn’t any fuel in Chitina. Oops. At this point, it was late afternoon, and we didn’t have enough fuel to make the trip out and back. I made a half-hearted attempt to ask around town and see if anyone wanted to sell us 5 gallons, but there were no takers. There was fuel only 25 miles back up the road, but it had taken so long to get through the construction zone in between, we wouldn’t be able to get back to Chitina until much later that evening. Since we are actually starting to run out of time on this trip, we gave up and rode to Valdez instead, telling ourselves we had to save some of Alaska for next time.