Thursday, June 30, 2011

denali: mckinley to the nenana {day 2}

we ventured into denali state park.
beautiful landscapes at every turn.
with mt. mckinley viewable at various mile markers on a clear day.

you can drive 15 miles in on a paved road with your personal vehicle.
until you reach the savage river.
after that, the road turns to gravel and taking a bus tour is the only choice.

we opted for the first 15 miles.
we couldn't commit to the day-long bus tour.


spruce trees abound.
it's like christmas everywhere.
wildlife roaming an unfenced land.
they say your chance of seeing wildlife are better the further you drive.
we saw a spotted mama moose, with her calf, at the entrance.


awkward looking creatures, yes?  sort of a cross between a horse, a donkey, and a... ??


it's all fun and games till someone disturbs your breakfast.
or calls you awkward.


we toured the park's science display.  there is much about the pioneer days which demands respect.  it is a different way of life, indeed.

there was even a recipe from one of our great pioneers, fannie quigley.  we ate this at cabin night the previous evening... one of the main characters was fannie herself. ;)


it's not written like any pie recipe i've ever read before.  agree?


there were several places to stop and breath in the beauty, oxygen, and pictures.
you wouldn't want to go venturing off on your lonesome, at least not without a cell phone...
in case you get lost, as two employees did {from the very hotel we were staying at}.


alaska is a feast for the eyes.


we were on the list for the helicopter glacier tour, but were pulled off at the last minute.
that can happen when one is on stand-by.
i may have shed a tear.

instead, we were invited to take in the view of mt. mckinley from denali air.
a tiny plane, indeed.
i made a conscious choice to ignore any of the risks involved.
knowing our pilot, joe, had 30 yrs under his belt helped.

the sensation is different from that of a larger plane.
sitting behind the pilot, i gauged his body language for any signs of distress.
he was calm, cool, and collect.


mt. mckinley is breathtaking.
its peaks peer above the clouds.
a beautiful distraction.


alaska is full of land... untouched.


when measured base to summit, mckinley is actually taller than everest.  
interesting, yes?
we felt so close, yet we were still 20 miles from the mountain.
joe said the cracks we see in the mountain are big enough to drop a house into.
crazy perspective.


as soon as we touched the ground, we got another call.
white water rafting.
neither of us had ever rafted quite like this before.

the most adventure we'd encountered together was a "double" wave runner and canoe.
both of which i do not like to this day, due to negative encounters.

we decided to once again throw caution to the wind.
i mean... when would we get such an invite again?
white water rafting... in alaska!

due to hub's connections, we soon found ourselves as paddlers.
ummm... i thought i was just along for the ride.


after our scary "do this, don't do this if you fall out" speech, we were on our way.
notice my readiness expression.
i did not want to fall out.


wait.  there's a pocket to slide your foot into?  why didn't you say so to begin with?
we're ready to rock this boat now!


during the calm water patches, we had an interesting view and dialogue of alaska's early train track construstion with our guide, pat.
if you're ever there, look him up.
good times.

he did confess to flipping a raft early in the season.
thankfully he kept that golden nugget to himself till the end.
the lady behind hubs may not have appreciated that info.
she was convinced she was falling in before we took off.
i finally had to tell her that she wouldn't...
while secretly hoping i wouldn't either.


see?  good times.
if ever given the option to paddle, go with the paddle.

and just so you know...
the front row gets the most water.
and the most fun.
we think so, anyway.

you're given the option to go for a swim toward the end of the ride, but we found the comfort of the boat suited us just fine.  that water was cold, y'all.  if i had been warm, i might have been tempted... you know... there's no fish in the silt-laden nenana river.  which means no predators either.  music to my ears.

after we took off our teletubby-meets-star-trek-suites, we took our hungry-stinky selves to the salmon bake for another yummy dinner.

one cannot eat enough fish in alaska.
have i mentioned the fish before?

{day 1}


  1. Geez....these pictures are definitely breathtaking. I would love to have the opportunity to make this trip; maybe one day! Thanks again for sharing.

  2. I'm passing along the Stylish Blogger Award to you.....because you have a very ♥sweet♥ blog!!

  3. The scenery is spectacular. You look so much like your daughter in that picture under the line-'I did not want to fall out'

    Looks like a fabulous trip!

  4. Absolutely gorgeous pictures! I told Dr. M that it's pretty cool when a good photographer goes on a trip to Alaska :)

    I did the Zambezi river white water rapids - but I was strictly ballast. No paddles for me. It was a LOT of fun - but definitely warmer than your outing.

  5. What Adventure! So great to stop in and say hello~ Blessings, Catherine.

  6. Oh MY! Good golly! GORGEOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Are those spots on the animals gunshot wounds?

    The glacier tour--HOLY COW!
    The peaks--WOW!

    So beautiful!

  7. When I saw the rafting pictures, I wondered how cold that water was! When you're on vacay in a much different place, you've gotta try as much as you never know if/when you'll get another chance! Beautiful, gorgeous, amazing scenery!

  8. I totally would go rafting if it weren't for my fear of water in my face. :) But it looks like LOTS of fun....and stress.

  9. I LOVE that recipe! I would just have to go pie-less if I had to do all of that every time. Eep.

    Love the pictures and the rafting looks amazing. I think I would freeze to death, I am always cold. Love the plane ride too. What an awesome trip this is!


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