September 15th, 2009 – by: Hummingbird
The nice sign at Mt McKinley Lodge with the mountain range in the back.
Another fairly early morning today. Why is it that when you go on a vacation tour they make you get up so early?? They needed our luggage out by 7 am so it meant getting up at 6:30.
Breakfast was at the Cub Buffet where you can fill your plate with anything they have, drink whatever you’d like and go back as often as you wish, and the selections were pretty good. Of course the price was Alaskan. :)
After breakfast we boarded the bus for our one hour ride back to Talkeetna to the train station, which really is about fifteen minutes from the town.
Don’t ask me why. The train turned out to be 45 minutes late so everyone just stood around trying to pass the time. In Alaska freight trains have priority over passenger trains so if one has to stop its the passenger train. Nothing to see, nowhere to go, nothing to buy. Finally, the train pulled in and we boarded for our 5 hour ride to Denali National Park. This time we get to buy lunch on board. We had some very good club sandwiches with a spear of pickle and some really good freshly made BBQ chips that they made right there. They were delicious!! We ate with a couple from the coast nearby in California, Robert and Nancy. Eating was downstairs in the lower level of the train and the rest of the ride was upstairs in the domed area.
Some nice metal sculptures nearby.
Lots of scenery to see.
Another shot of the sign, this time with Mt McKinley centered. Note it has clouds on top this morning.
We arrived in Denali about four and spent an hour or two looking around and shopping. It’s very different here than it was down in Talkeetna. The Princess Lodge has a large main lodge, but the surrounding buildings are three story hotel style each with a hundred or more rooms and a few other buildings for gift shops and restaurants. Across the street there are locally owned businesses. Not a town like Talkeetna, but something. We made our way through a deli, a couple of souvenir shops, walked by a couple of restaurants and checked their menus, and a few other places, like a Subway sandwich shop and an ice cream parlor. It turned our the ice cream parlor had already closed for the season and the Subway closed the evening we got into town. Shucks, it would have been where we ate lunch tomorrow. We bought some bottles of water for our tour in the morning and a few small gifts.
Nice and cool this morning.
Dinner was at the Lynx Creek Pizza and Pub, owned and operated by Princess. A very expensive pizza and coke. Then back to our room where we retired early. I was hurting from the train ride and took a pill to relax my muscles and let me sleep. Roger turned in early too but got up again at midnight to go outside to see if he could see the Aurora. He reported to me in the morning that he finally got to see a very little bit during the two hours he was out. It was pale green and white that ran from north to east across between two mountains and lightened and faded several times. Not near as much as he had hoped for but at least he could say he had seen it.