October 17, 2011

our land tours ~ part two

the main attraction in Talkeetna ~ Mt. McKinley as seen on a clear day
We left Denali and moved on to Talkeetna for the second day of our land tour. It was a clear and glorious day. The sun was out and we were blessed with the magnificent sight of Mt. McKinley towering at 20,320 feet. We spent the afternoon until sunset relaxing on the veranda of the main lodge watching steadily as clouds covered and uncovered the mountain. The view was constantly changing. I tried my best not to look away as I didn't want to miss anything :-)

(clockwise) our raft by the river, fall colors against the cool blue mountain range, bear tracks on the sand, floating along the Chulitna river
The weather didn't look promising as we set out the next morning for our river float adventure with Talkeetna River Guides along the Chulitna River. It wasn't raining but it was overcast and windy. Mt. McKinley was totally hidden so we were thankful that we had a chance to see it the previous day. We were lucky to see a few bald eagles that day. The area around the Chulitna River is a natural habitat for them. Surrounded by nature, we spent a relaxing day on the raft but it sure was challenging and tiring for our paddlers who were fighting the wind the entire 4-hour float trip. The excursion was a great way to experience the outdoors and learn more about the area as well as the wildlife around it.

the eagles we saw along the Chulitna River

We enjoyed walking around downtown Talkeetna with its many charming souvenir and gift shops. I read that the location or setting for the tv series Northern Exposure, the fictional town of Cicely, was patterned after Talkeetna. The actual filming location, however, was somewhere in Washington. Shown above are just two of the cute shops I saw. Shown below is a local Alaskan art gallery.

shown above, West Rib sign, the bar by the entrance, caribou chili, specialty dark beer and a portion of the restaurant menu 
We passed a few interesting restaurants, but the West Rib Cafe (shown above) caught our attention as it was one of the restaurants my husband remembered from the Alaska travel app. We settled for the caribou chili as soon as we saw it in the menu. I guess coming from the river excursion where we got a good dose of the cold Alaska breeze, there was nothing more appealing than a steaming bowl of chili. They also serve specialty beers on tap which my husband tried and enjoyed with his meal.

colorful flowers welcomed visitors in Denali and Talkeetna

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