Anchorage, Alaska

Latitude 61.2°N Longitude 149.88333°W

Thursday, August 22, 2002

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We were up early, walked downtown to Avis to pick up our car, and had a delicious breakfast of smoked salmon benedict at the Solstice Cafe. We left Anchorage in fog and drizzle and headed north up Highway 1 to Denali National Park. The drive was extremely scenic, theoretically, with panoramic vistas of the majestic Alaska Range and Mt. McKinley to be seen all along the 200 mile journey. However, our mileage varied. The clouds were so low that we could barely see the road a few yards ahead, let alone any mountains. But we kept the otherwise boring drive interesting by playing games such as trying to guess where, in all the gloom, McKinley would actually be were we able to see it.

Along the way we stopped at the tiny town of Talkeetna, which among other things is a bit of an air taxi and provisioning hub for climbing expeditions to Mt. McKinley. At just over 20,000 feet, McKinley is the highest peak on the North American continent and thus one of the famous Seven Summits, quite prominent in mountaineering circles. The local museum had an entire section devoted to the mountain and the people who have surveyed it, flown around it, and climbed it - or have perished in the attempt, in many cases.

We continued north and by the late afternoon we were very close to the Denali park entrance. We stayed overnight in a tiny log cabin by the side of the Nenana River, and despite the sky not turning dark until almost 11pm, fell asleep immediately in preparation for tomorrow's early start.

Photos: (click on images to see full size)

Nagley's store in the quaint town of TalkeetnaOur cosy log cabin at Denali Grizzly Bear Cabins & Campground

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