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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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