Joined July 2016 Message
  • Day28

    On our way home!

    June 12, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 11 °C

    We spent our last night in the same campground where we started our trip - Creekwood Inn & RV in Anchorage. We returned the RV to Clippership RV Rentals and they then took us to the airport just a short distance away. Our plane did not leave until the evening but we were able to check in our luggage with with airlines and spend the rest of the day in the VIP Lounge at the airport. This worked out nicely as it has comfortable seating and refreshments. We found out that one of the towns we visited a week or so ago just got 8 inches of snow! Our plane was a little late in boarding but all went well. Seeing the Alaskan mountains from the air is beautiful!

    What a trip!!
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  • Day27

    Play Ball!

    June 11, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    We left Talkeetna and headed south on Alaska route 1 towards Anchorage. Before we got to our campground we stopped in Chugiak, Alaska for a baseball game. The teams were the Chugiak Chanooks and the Mat-Su Miners - teams from the Alaska Baseball League. It was the home opener for the Chugiak Chanooks.

    The name "Chugiak" comes from a Dena'ina word meaning "place of many places". Chugiak was first heavily settled in the 1950s, primarily by the homesteading by former military personnel who had served in Alaska during World War II. Mat-Su is shortened for Matanuska-Susitna Valley. The Mat-Su Valley was originally inhabited by Athabaskan people and was explored by Russians in 1818.

    A lot of people came out for the home-opener. They even have their own cheering group - 'the horn section' (see photo 5). The game was won by the Chanooks 7 - 1.
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  • Day26

    All Aboard!

    June 10, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    Today we visited the town of Talkeetna. Talkeetna comes from the Dena'ina word K'Dalkitnu which means 'river of plenty'. The gold rush brought prospectors to the area as early as 1896 but gold was not found until 1905. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a law enabling a railroad be built from Seward to interior Alaska at Fairbanks. Talkeetna was then turned in to a railroad camp. After the railroad was completed the town was able to survive. Today it relies on tourists and climbers using Talkeetna as base camp for climbing in the Denali area. Year-round population is between 800 - 900, peaking to nearly 5000 during the summer months. Three rivers start at Talkeetna and are glacially fed: Chulitna, Susitna and Talkeetna. The rivers can be anywhere from 6 inches to 30 feet deep.

    While in Talkeetna we took the Alaska Railroad ride, the Hurricane Turn Train. It is a 120 mile round trip train ride. It is America's last flagstop trains as you can flag the train to stop anywhere along its route. The Hurricane Turn Train serves as a lifeline for Alaskans living off the road system in the backcountry wilderness north of Talkeetna. Along the way we stopped at the home of Shannon Cartwright, author of children's books. She has lived off the grid for 46 years (photo3). We also passed through towns that are no longer in existence Curry and Chase. We then passed through Sherman, named after the only family still living there, also off the grid (photo 4). The turnaround point is Hurricane Gulch. The Hurricane Gulch Bridge is a 918 ft long steel arch railroad bridge that crosses Hurricane Gulch, Alaska. It only took 2 months to erect the bridge! It is 296 ft above the Hurricane creek, and is both the longest and tallest bridge on the entire Alaska Railroad (photos 6 & 7). Another stop was at Indian River (photo 8).

    When we got back to the camp site we cooked hot dogs and s'mores over a camp fire. A great way to end a great day!
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  • Day25

    On the road again

    June 9, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    We left Denali and headed south on the Alaska Route 3 stopping at a campground in Trapper Creek. Along the way we did see moose - and we had 2 brown bears walk across the road in front of us! We were driving through the Denali State Park area. We also saw 2 moose near the side of the road but they moved before we could get a photo. Trapper Creek is halfway between Anchorage and Denali and is known as the southern gateway to Denali State Park. The population is a little over 400.Read more

  • Day24

    Hiking Denali

    June 8, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 12 °C

    The weather was great for hiking - in the mid 50's - and that's what we did today.

    We went back to Denali and hiked two trails. The first was Horseshoe Lake Trail. As the name suggests, the trail takes you down and around Horseshoe Lake. This trail has a 20% slope down (which you have to go back up!). Along the lake you can see beavers, their dams and trees that they are gnawing on or have felled. We also saw a snowshoe hare. The trail also takes you along the Nenana River. A beautiful hike!

    Our next trail connected with the Horseshoe Lake Trail and it was the Taiga Trail. Taiga Trail is slightly easier with only a 15% slope. This trail leads you back to the Visitors Center. While hiking this trail we came across a moose - up close and personal! It was right off the trail.

    After the hike we decided to drive in the RV as far as the Park allows private vehicles to go in the Park - 15 miles.
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  • Day23


    June 7, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 9 °C

    We were lucky today as we saw many animals: grizzly bears, moose, caribou, ptarmigan, and Dall sheep. Sometimes they were behind trees, down in the valley, up the side of a mountain and others were close. We were lucky in that we were able to see Mt McKinley! See photo 4 - in the middle of the photo you see two white peaks - that is Mt. McKinley. Photo six is a zoomed in view of Mt McKinley. It was about 70 miles away and the elevation is 20,310 feet.Read more

  • Day23

    Denali National Park and Preserve

    June 7, 2018 in the United States ⋅ 🌧 9 °C

    Today was spent touring Denali National Park. We took the Wilderness Tundra bus tour which was about 8 hours long.

    Denali National Park and Preserve has just one road, called the Denali Park Road, and it is the only way in and out. The road is 92 miles long, and only the first 15 miles of it are paved. That paved portion, leading from the park entrance to Savage River, is open during the summer for public vehicles to drive, which is why we did a tour so that we could go deeper in the park. The remainder of the road is packed gravel and there are no guard rails. We traveled about 2/3 of the 92 miles. Today, 100 years ago, the 1st party to set foot on the highest part happened. At this moment, there are 500 climbers on the mountain.

    In 1917, Congress created this park for one main reason: to protect Dall sheep and was called Mt. McKinley. In 1906 gold was being mined by approximately 2000 people. Dalo sheep were in abundance in this area and were hunted to provide food. In 1980 Congress expanded the park boundaries and added other reasons for its existence, including protection of North America's tallest mountain (now called Denali) and to provide a place for wilderness recreation. The word "Denali" means "the high one" in the native Athabaskan language and refers to the mountain itself. Denali is a huge park (more than 6 million acres), but has very few trails. This is intentional - to preserve wilderness recreation.
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  • Day22

    On to Denali

    June 6, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    We left Fairbanks and headed southwest on the Parks Highway, also known as Alaska 3. You can see where parts of the road have the dips and heaves showing it was built on permafrost. Also, you pass an access road that leads to Clear, a large radar site that is part of the ballistic missile early warning system. After crossing the the Tanana River we stopped in the village of Nenana. This village is used as a transfer point for fuel and other goods from the railroad to river barges headed for villages on the Tanana and Yukon Rivers. Nenana is known for their Nenana Ice Classic, an annual betting pool where hundreds of thousands of dollars are wagered by people around the world trying to guess the exact day and time in the spring when the river ice will go out. Of course we placed our wagers! When the Alaska Railroad was completed in 1923 President Harding drove a golden spike in Nenana to commemorate the railroad completion. Nenana has also been a stop for the Iditarod Race. We then continued on to Denali.Read more

  • Day21

    Fairbanks continued

    June 5, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    Today was a relaxing day after yesterday's long Dalton Highway experience. We did go on a stern wheel paddle boat. This boat travels the Chena River from Fairbanks. We saw a float plane take off as we started down the river. The boat stops at the dog mushing facility of Susan Butcher. Susan Butcher is an American dog musher and is the second woman to win the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in 1986, the second four-time winner in 1990, and the first to win four out of five sequential years. Although Susan died in 2006, her husband and two daughters have kept up the dog sled training facility on the Chena River. We were able to meet her daughter Tekla who gave a demonstration on the training. In the summer months they use an ATV (without the engine) to train the dogs. The next stop was to a remake of an Athabaskan village. Our guides in the village were native Alaskans from some of the local tribes.

    The Athabascan people traditionally lived in Interior Alaska that begins south of the Brooks Mountain Range and continues down to the Kenai Peninsula. There are eleven linguistic groups of Athabascans in Alaska. Athabascan people have traditionally lived along five major river ways: the Yukon, the Tanana, the Susitna, the Kuskokwim, and the Copper river drainages. Athabascans migrated seasonally, traveling in small groups to fish, hunt and trap. They did not live in log cabins until the white people became known to them. Clothing was made of caribou and moose hide. Moose and caribou hide moccasins and boots were important parts of the wardrobe. Styles of moccasins vary depending on conditions. Both men and women are adept at sewing, although women traditionally did most of skin sewing. Canoes were made of birch bark, moose hide, and cottonwood. All Athabascans used sleds --with and without dogs to pull them – snowshoes and dogs as pack animals. Photo 4 is of a fishing wheel. This is how salmon were caught.
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  • Day20

    Dalton Highway continued

    June 4, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    We passed through some beautiful scenery the remainder of our trip. One community we went through, Livengood, is no longer viable. Gold was discovered on July 24,1914, on Livengood Creek by N.R. Hudson and Jay Livengood. The village was founded near the Hudson/ Livengood claim as a mining camp during the winter of 1914-15, when hundreds of people came into the district. A post office was established in 1915 and was discontinued in 1957. A construction camp was located near Livengood during the construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. We stopped at a general store in a community called Joy. This community was named after the mother of the founding family who had 23 children - the majority of them were adopted.

    We left Fairbanks at 1:00pm and returned to our camp site at 3:00am! It was a long day but we did get to see the sun setting (it never sets completely off the horizon) - it's called the midnight sun.
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