Day 4 of the Happenin’ Alaska Experience

Slept in today. Didn’t get up until 5:45am. Felt good, except that I didn’t got to bed until 11:15pm last night. What was I thinkin’? I mean, I know it was still daylight outside, but haven’t I learnt my lesson yet?

Showered, packed and were out of the room by 6:30 so we could get breakfast before our 7:30 hike. Exciting breakfast: oatmeal from the Courtyard Cafe here at the McKinley Chalet Resort. It really hit the spot.

7:25 – Met our guides for the hike: Brian and Jessica. In addition, hooked up with a lovely Australian couple named Dennis and Anne. They were from Brisbane. How funny, just sitting here writing and Anne is standing across the lobby. Oh, and there’s Dennis, checking out the relief map of the park.

Brian and Jessica drove us down to the trailhead in two vans. There were a total of nine of us in the group. A couple from Thunder Bay, Ontario. A woman from Manhattan. The other two were very nice, but I didn’t catch any info about them.

I like this meeting new folks from around the world on these excursions. If the excursions are long enough, it almost feels like you’ve made some new friends. That’s about how it felt with Dennis and Anne. They were really sweet.

They are on a five week holiday. They took a cruise like the one that mom and I are on, only in reverse, and when they finish up in Anchorage, tehy are going to take a few days there, then head off to explore the Canadian Rockies in an RV! So cool!!

Don’t you just love that song “The Girl from Impanema”? It’s playing in the lobby righ tnow. The original version, recorded in the 60s. Just love Jobim!

Anyway, the hike was about 3.5 hours, including the roundtrip from/to the hotel. We saw a couple of lakes (two of the three tri-lakes), a couple of beavers, some wildflowers, a LOT of trees (including black and white spruce, aspen, birch, and alder (that may be a bush, though)), six- to eight-inch thick moss (everywhere). It was a nice little nature adventure.

It wore me out. I’m such a wuss!! It was only 3 and a half miles, but by the time we returned to the vans, I was pooped! I could still use a nap!

So, what to do when you’re pooped and ready to pass out? Why, walk some more, of course!!!

After returning to the Chalet, we decided to strike out for lunch at “The Salmon Bake” restaurant. It’s a quarter mile or so away. Could have caught a shuttle, but why?

The restaurant was nearly empty, so we had ample time to get to know our waiter, Karl. An attractive man with chisled features (I think that’s the first time in my life I’ve used those words to describe someone!), he hails from Palm Springs, CA, and has been working up here in the summer since 2008. He is currently holding down two jobs, because he doesn’t drink and there ain’t that much to do up here if you don’t… He was very outgoing… A very friendly, but not horribly annoying guy.

For lunch, I had the buffalo chili. Damn it was tasty! So much so that when Karl took my cup away, I ordered another cup before getting my entre, the baked King Salmon. Ma had a salad and beans and rice. They had this yummy sounding vegetarian dish on the menu called the “Hungry Hungry Hippie,” which she ordered, only to find out that they were out of humus until Monday. REALLY!!! Who runs out of hummus?

Post-lunch, we went shopping. Well, window shopping, really, though I did find a few fun items. I bought a Denali shirt and hat, as well as a couple of frameable postcards.

Now hanging out in the main lodge of the Chalet, waiting for our next great adventure, the train ride from here to Fairbanks.

I need chocolate. NOW!