We decided to go to Alaska to cool off and see some glaciers and wildlife. Susie and Larry could not
make it during July 4th week so Felicia, Kendra and I flew to Anchorage, Alaska on July 2nd and came
back home on July 12th. We definitely cooled down while we were gone, and in Dallas it was 100
degrees every day. In spite of driving over 800 miles in southern Alaska, we did not see the wildlife
that we had expected to see. We were looking for moose, bears, elk or caribou and did not see any
of these on the roads. On both of our trips to British Columbia, we would see bears and elk every
day on the roads and on trails. Not sure what we did wrong while we were looking around Alaska.
We spent our first and last day in Anchorage. Our first night in Alaska, we stayed at a very nice
A-frame cabin on Sand Lake in Anchorage. All of the neighbors had float planes at their docks
and we immediately liked the cool temperature and the quiet lake. In July, it does not get very
dark in Alaska, it gets dusky looking from 11 PM until about 4 AM and then it is bright again.
It was hard to sleep without something over your eyes or good blackout curtains.
Alaska - Land of the Midnight Sun July 2011 - Page 1
Our house at Sand Lake
was a Bed & Breakfast.
We woke up very early
because it was daylight,
but the view was great
We booked a trip with K2 Aviation in Talkeetna to fly us over the mountains and glaciers in Denali Park, to get a good look at
Mt. McKinley air and then to land on a glacier to take pictures. Weather was too bad our first day in Talkeetna, low clouds and
it was snowing on the glacier so we moved our flight back a day. We flew the next day to view the mountain and glaciers and
rivers draining from the glacier melt. We could not land on the glacier because it was still snowing. The morning we left, as you
would guess, the weather was perfect and you could see Mt. McKinley from 65 miles away with no problem
Leaving Anchorage we drove north through Wasilla, looked for Sarah Palin, and then went north again to the town of Talkeetna, population 800??
Talkeetna is very old and is built around a dirt runway where small plane with big rubber tires land about 200 feet away from the main street
Talkeetna is also where climbers from around the world start and finish their trips to climb Mt McKinley. We were told that 98% of the climbing
expeditions go through Talkeetna. Climbers are flown to and land on glaciers about 7000 feet up and begin their climb which seems to take 3
or 4 weeks. We stayed in Talkeetna in a small cabin for 2 days and ate breakfast with a group of 5 hungry climbers who had just spent more
than 24 days on the mountain without making it to the top. One of the climbers had made it to the top of Mt. Everest, several had climbed the
tallest mountains in Europe and South America. They were frustrated that they did not make it to the summit but one guy told me that they
reached the top on about half of their climbs so they would be back to try again.
While we were waiting in Talkeetna to fly into the mountains, we walked through the town, watched everyone putting out decorated moose
statues for the 4th of July parade. We also went on a raft ride near town where three rivers with Indian names come together. The water
was ice cold, they knew that it had melted off the glacier less that 8 hours before it reached our rafting area.
Click on any photo to see a larger view
Kendra had to sit in the front seat
with the pilot and spare controls.
Felicia and I sat in the back of the
Kendra has been very brave on
some of the helicopter and small
plane rides we have taken her on
Do not let this iphone picture fool you, 90%
of our time in Alaska was spent
with "No Service" note on phone
Our cabin in Talkeetna my have been
the newest and nicest place in town. It
seemed much more small town Alaska
than where we stayed on our first night
Below is Mt. McKinley from Talkeetna
Talkeetna is a very old and is built around a dirt runway where small plane with big rubber tires land about 200 feet away from the main street.
These pictures show the runway and planes buzzed just overhead. These bush planes are made to use dirt and gravel landing strips and to
take off and land in very short distances. I took some pictures of trees right next to the landing strip that had bent and broken propellers from
rough landings picture with a tree.
We saw small planes with floats taking off and landing on rivers and lakes, saw bush planes with fat rubber tires taking off on dirt strips and
saw planes with skis for landing on ice ( glaciers in the summer, rivers and lakes durinbg winter time). Very few towns in Alaska have a
paved road to get to the town, but they do have dirt landing strips. Travel by small plane is a way of life in Alaska.
In talking with Alaskans and then flying over the Talkeetna area and Denali National Park, I was amazed at how many people live way out
in remote cabins that are off the grid - no dirt road access, no electricity, computer, phone, cell phone, internet, newspaper, etc. A lot of
people go to town every few months for supplies - driving a truck or ATV to a road or flying onto lakes or frozen lakes