Denali to Fairbanks

Denali National Park Travel Blog

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A Dall sheep on display at the Visitors Center.

This was a very unusual day for us.  Nothing on the agenda for today until we caught the train to Fairbanks around 3:15 in the afternoon.  But the bus driver who brought us from the train depot when we arrived suggested to miss the crowd we should go down there early.  That turned out to be a mess.  More on that later.

Trying to find something for breakfast was difficult, as all of the places had either closed by 8 am or were closed for the season.  We did find a sweet roll and had coffee, but that was hardly what we’d had in mind. 

After eating we strolled around the area for awhile and twittled our thumbs waiting for at least noon to come.

A female and here young one.
Nothing else to do because we’d had to check out of our room.  Finally, we caught the shuttle bus down to the Visitor’s Center, which is only about a quarter mile from the train station.

The Denali National Park Visitor’s Center is a very nice place to visit.  It may not be huge, but there are plenty of things to see and read about, and there is a movie that runs continuously in a nice sized theater and is about a half hour in length.  You can walk in any time and not feel you’ve missed something.  The animals on display are done so nicely that you feel any moment they could come alive and move.  We spent quite a while looking and enjoying.

Finally, about 2:30 we made our way to the train station.  We were going to have another 5 hours on the train so it would be around 8:30 before we arrive in Fairbanks.

A female Dall Sheep
 

There were a few others already waiting in the few benches at the station but we found a place to sit.  We sat and chatted with several people and compared notes on our trip so far.  Most felt like we did that it had been a pretty nice experience.

Now comes a problem.  I decided to visit the restroom and found that there was a sign posted on it “Closed for the season”.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  Even before the end of the tourist season they had closed and locked the restrooms!  That meant having to walk the quarter mile back over to the Visitor’s Center.  I could see how much of a pain that was going to cause as the time went on.  With more and more people discovering they’d have to do that, the stream of mad people going to the Visitor’s Center was going to be terrible.

A nice mural of Mt McKinley
  I certainly wouldn’t have been someone working over there that day.

Well, the train was late by about 45 minutes so about four o’clock we were onboard and headed north.  We again were faced backwards at the table upstairs which meant a few less pictures that Roger would get.  Still a nice ride with a couple from Florida.  Dinner turned out to be cheeseburgers, because everything else on the menu was salmon of one kind or another.  We pulled into Fairbanks and were bussed to our Princess Riverside Lodge where we went directly to our room and crashed.  That is one of the very nice things about this Princess tour.  They handle all of the tickets, keys, itinerary and hand it to you in an envelope with times, and everything printed on the front and your tickets, keys, etc. inside.  Makes everything a real snap.  We did call the front desk for an Aurora call to wake us up if the northern lights were out.

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A Dall sheep on display at the Vis…
A Dall sheep on display at the Vi…
A female and here young one.
A female and here young one.
A female Dall Sheep
A female Dall Sheep
A nice mural of Mt McKinley
A nice mural of Mt McKinley
An eagle flying to her nest
An eagle flying to her nest
A Moose
A Moose
A model of the mountain range with…
A model of the mountain range wit…
Some pretty Indian boots
Some pretty Indian boots
This bear looked like he could jus…
This bear looked like he could ju…
Wolf
Wolf
Moose
Moose
Moose
Moose
A quilt hanging on the wall
A quilt hanging on the wall
The train depot.
The train depot.
The train rolling in.
The train rolling in.
Engine
Engine
One of the few birds we saw.
One of the few birds we saw.
Another of the few birds.
Another of the few birds.
As we started north we got this vi…
As we started north we got this v…
Dont know what kind of TV recepti…
Don't know what kind of TV recept…
An Indian salmon trap.
An Indian salmon trap.
The University of Alaska, Fairbank…
The University of Alaska, Fairban…
As we pulled in the sunset was bea…
As we pulled in the sunset was be…
Denali National Park
photo by: Vikram