Georgeanne and I have spent the last two days exploring a very small portion of Alaska backcountry. Wow this state is vast!
We drove from Anchorage to Denali with a stop at Talkeetna, a small Alaska town. Not surprising, it was raining so we explored the town museum and had lunch at West Rib Cafe & Pub. We learned that Talkeetna is the place from which climbers embark who are trying to ascend Denali. They fly from the local grass air strip in town to basecamp in order to get aclaimaited for an average of 21 day trek to the top without oxygen. Not for the faint hearted and more than 40% of the attempts end in failure.
A long day touring Denali park and preserve was informative and delightful. We learned about the history of the six million acre park, the influence of mining and some lore about local pioneers. It was full of surprises the first one being that we didn’t see the tallest mountain in the US. The adventure of visiting Denali park was well worth the trip. On our soggy day tour, we traveled 92 miles to the end-of-the-road on a 12 hour bus excursion.
We traveled on the only road with park access with a local sponsored bus tour not private vehicle (which aren’t allowed past mile 15). Complimentary bus transportation is available from the visitor center. The take away was that this park is vast and remote. Every effort has been made to protect a complete ecosystem. We saw, bear, caribou, mountain goat and moose. And we leave with a new sense of understanding of what a treasure our national parks are.