Denali - And my only real sighting of the Aurora!

Denali National Park Travel Blog

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Can you guess where we are?

Up at six thirty so we could get our luggage out by seven.  Then down to the Cub Buffet to get our breakfast. This is a buffet style restaurant with waiters serving and refilling drinks and busing dirty dishes.  A very good selection of breakfast food even included biscuits and gravy, pancakes, waffles, scrambled eggs, bacon, and sausges.  My only complaint was the rather small booths.  Well, that and the Alaskan price, which I will continue to complain about for the rest of this blog.  But they have to ship in everything from the lower 48 so the price has to reflect that.

After breakfast we boarded buses for the one hour ride back in Talkeetna to the train station.  Why Princess built their Lodge way out where they did is a real stumper.

There were several metal statues around the property.
There were many more places to see Mt McKinley closer to Talkeetna.  The train was about 45 minutes late but we headed north towards Denali National Park.  This was another 5 hour train ride, but included lunch, which we had to pay for.  We had club sandwiches again, a pickle and fries. We had a very good lunch and with a super couple from the coast in California, Robert and Nancy.  Then back up stairs to the upper deck of the train for the rest of the ride.  We pulled into Denali around four and spent a little while looking around, and shopping.  Denali is unlike Princesses Lodge in Talkeetna.  Here on one side of the street is the lodge and several very large three  story buildings with probably a hundred rooms per building and a few smaller gift shops and restaurant buildings.
Another shot, but with the mountain behind. This time with a few clouds around the top.
  The other side of the street are the locally owned businesses, including a market deli liquor store, a few souvenir shops, a couple of restaurants and a few small places like an ice cream shop and a Subway sandwich store. The ice cream shop had already closed for the season and the Subway closed up the night we got into town. 

We bought a few small gifts and needs for our tour tomorrow.  Dinner was at the Lynx Creek Pizza and Pub.  A 12 inch Hawaiian style pizza and a coke.

After dinner it was back to our room and a short hour or so blogging and off to bed in hopes of a midnight wake up call!  I want to see the Aurora!!  I had to set my own alarm, because the front desk said they couldn't notify everyone, only a small number.

And it was a little cooler in the morning.
  I was pissed!!!

My alarm went off just prior to midnight, and I quietly dressed as warm as I could, grabbed my camera and tripod and headed outside.  My wife had been having trouble with her back after the train ride and had taken a pill to help her relax and sleep, so I let her sleep while I went out tonight.  I walked around the building where our room was and the building next door trying to figure where there may be the lowest amount of light pollution.  I ran across one couple who had gone further up the road out of town and been disappointed to still have the same amount of light pollution.  I finally found a spot where if I held one arm up to help block light I could see a definite light, pale green and white running from north to east across between the two mountains areas, with a small valley between.  Over the next hour and a half the Aurora brightened a little and then faded out several times.  I never was able to get a picture or video of it but felt so good about getting to be able to see it!

Off to bed again at around two am and went quickly and happily to sleep.

 

portia says:
hi Roger, we are about to go on oue trip, I wonder if we will see the aurora!
Posted on: Jun 09, 2012
jethanad says:
You lucky guy - seeing the Aurora is on my list and now I know how far I have to go ! Thank you very much for sharing , that bit about viewing, photographing , tripod, light pollution - I am snickering - you are just like me - obsessed !
Posted on: Dec 09, 2009
Africancrab says:
I would love to see the Aurora, how exciting you got to see it.
Posted on: Oct 05, 2009
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Can you guess where we are?
Can you guess where we are?
There were several metal statues a…
There were several metal statues …
Another shot, but with the mountai…
Another shot, but with the mounta…
And it was a little cooler in the …
And it was a little cooler in the…
42 degrees at 8:41am.
42 degrees at 8:41am.
More of the metal statues.
More of the metal statues.
Attractive plants were still plant…
Attractive plants were still plan…
More of the attractive flowers amd…
More of the attractive flowers am…
More of the attractive flowers amd…
More of the attractive flowers am…
More of the attractive flowers amd…
More of the attractive flowers am…
The morning sky towards the high m…
The morning sky towards the high …
With clouds streaming past.
With clouds streaming past.
Shot taken around the area.
Shot taken around the area.
The Lodge
The Lodge
Back at the railroad depot at Talk…
Back at the railroad depot at Tal…
The busses they used.
The busses they used.
Our train arrives less late than b…
Our train arrives less late than …
It was turning into a nice day.
It was turning into a nice day.
One of the prettier painted busses.
One of the prettier painted busses.
Off we went, waving goodbye to Tal…
Off we went, waving goodbye to Ta…
At lunchtime on the train we had n…
At lunchtime on the train we had …
The very nice couple we ate with, …
The very nice couple we ate with,…
And they got a shot of us.
And they got a shot of us.
Another great shot of Denali (Mt. …
Another great shot of Denali (Mt.…
Another glacier!
Another glacier!
On a good curve I could get a shot…
On a good curve I could get a sho…
And as we neared a timber trestle …
And as we neared a timber trestle…
And again!!
And again!!
Yet another glacier!
Yet another glacier!
This sign was at the highest point…
This sign was at the highest poin…
One of the very few plants along t…
One of the very few plants along …
A coal plant.
A coal plant.
A very big beaver dam.
A very big beaver dam.
And the only two wind power genera…
And the only two wind power gener…
At Denali, the other side of the s…
At Denali, the other side of the …
Only a few places.
Only a few places.
Maybe a dozen. Most souvenir and g…
Maybe a dozen. Most souvenir and …
The roofs of our facility from our…
The roofs of our facility from ou…
The menu at Lynx.
The menu at Lynx.
Inside Lynx
Inside Lynx
Again there were many nice metal s…
Again there were many nice metal …
Even the rocks looked like animals…
Even the rocks looked like animal…
This market deli had burgers for $…
This market deli had burgers for …
Denali National Park Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
The Best Pizza in town!! -- but then its the ONLY pizza in town!
Lynx Creek Pizza in Denali apparently been around for many many years, but it was purchased by Princess several years back and has not improved since … read entire review
Denali National Park
photo by: Vikram