Up bright and early! This 5 am crap is going to get old soon!Started the day off with a nice half-hour walk. Good thing we did, as it ended up being the only real exercise we got all day!
Caught a bus to the train terminal at 7:15am. Dropped off at the door of our car of the McKinley Explorer, the train that was to take us to Denali. Our car was called “Chulitna”. I’m sure that means something, just not sure what…
And on that note…
We spent the 8 hours on the McKinley Explorer, seeing all manner of Alaskan scenery and wildlife, including billions of trees and lakes (there are 3 million lakes of 20 acres in Alaska) and moose (I swear I saw Bullwinkle!).
Had breakfast and dinner on the train. Adequate, better than airlines food, but not spectacular.
About an hour into the trip, we passed through Wasilla. Didn’t have time to stop and say hi to Sarah Palin, so I just sent a FB message.
Eight hours on the train was a bit much, I have to admit. Got to walk around a bit, but mostly it was just read, read, read.
Arrived at Healy (on the outskirts of Denali National Park) at around 4pm. They rounded us up and bussed us off to our hotel, the McKinley Chalet Resort, with our guide, Katelyn from Arizona, who was terribly amusing, where we got our room and prepped for the big event of the day: Flightseeing Denali!
Met up with our driver, Jason, at the main building of the hotel. He drove us down to the Denali Flightseeing airfield, where we picked up our flight for the tour.
OMG! The tour was AMAZING. From the airfield, we flew south-west toward Mt. McKinley. The total tour time was around 1.25 hours. In that time, we flew up the spine of the mountain range, around many glaciers, saw McKinley thorugh the clouds (barely), turned around flew back, a round tirp of ~200 miles. I posted some of the photos that I took during the flight, but in all, I ended up taking well over 400 shots while we were in the air.
Highly recommended tour! DO IT!!!
Dinner was at one of the resort restaurants, the Nenana View Grille. The Nenana is the river that runs by Healy. I had the salmon, which was surprisingly nowhere near as good as any of the food I had yesterday. Ma had a linguini. She made the same comment.
It is now 10:23pm and the daylight outside shows no sign of abating. Just checked the sunset time and the sun isn’t slated to set until 11:34pm. I don’t think I want to wait for that!
Sunrise is at 4:10am. Oh boy!! Think I’ll sleep in! Till 6! Well, if my body will let me!