Thursday, June 28, 2007
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
We woke up in Denali and spent some time walking around the grounds of the Lodge. At noon, we boarded the glass-topped train to Talkeetna. The trip south was beautiful and much more of what I thought Alaska would be like ~ lots of trees and mountains. When we arrived in Talkeetna, we stayed at the beautiful Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge ~ WOW! That evening we went on a river float trip which was a bunch of fun! Matt really enjoyed rowing the raft and didn't get us into too much trouble! After the float trip, we walked around downtown Talkeetna ~ can you say Northern Exposure? It's a itty bitty town with LOTS of character. We loved walking around and soaking up the small town feel. The next morning we walked back into town for breakfast and bought a few things to remember our trip.
That afternoon we boarded the motor coach for Anchorage. Soon after we started the trip we were stopped because of an accident. We did get to see a helicopter land right in front of us and it turned out that everyone involved in accident was o.k. We didn't really have anything going on in Anchorage, so the 2 hours we sat in our motor coach wasn't a big deal for our trip. We were just thankful everything ended well.
We spent the evening in Anchorage. We didn't see too much because we were on our own and walked around for a short time. After being in the many small towns and the wilderness for several days, it was culture shock for sure! We decided that we really enjoyed the remote areas of Alaska more than the big city.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Monday, June 18, 2007
The first day of our vacation wasn't too exciting since we spent most of it on airplanes, waiting in airports, and getting yelled at by a crabby old woman who Matthew had the displeasure of sitting in front of on the plane. Bless his heart, he was so good and hardly touched her seat when she turned around and yelled at him. After the third time, I yelled back and she didn't bother us anymore. Once we finally arrived and found our lodging, it was rather amusing to see the kids reation to 21 hours of daylight! It took awhile, but they FINALLY fell asleep that first night. The sun set at 12:15 am and then came up again at 3:15 am, but it never really did get dark, just dusk.
The fun really started the second day. We enjoyed a 3 1/2 hour Riverboat Cruise on the beautiful Chena and Tanana Rivers. We learned that "na" means river in the native indians language. They provided some fabulous demonstrations by a bush plane and at Susan Butcher's sled dog mushers camp and then we toured a beautiful Athabascan Native Indian camp. It was a beautiful morning!
The next stop was lunch in downtown Fairbanks. We tried a little place called Soapy Smith's. The decor was great but the food was so-so & the owner was a bit overbearing. After a short walk around the downtown area, we stopped to get a good look at the Alaska Pipeline ~ which was very interesting! Then ... it was time to pan for GOLD! That was a ton of fun and the kids were sure they would be rich by the end of the day! Between the four of us, we managed to pan about $25 worth of gold flakes, but we had a great time looking for those big gold nuggets.
That's the end of the first few days. Stay tuned...
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Wow! What a trip! After two weeks away, we arrived home in the wee hours of Saturday morning. We had an amazing time in Alaska & feel so blessed to have seen and done so many wonderful things. Tim took this amazing photo on the last day of our cruise while we were going through the Inside Passage. We took about 1,400 pictures between our three cameras, so I will have lots to share.
Friday, June 8, 2007
Tomorrow we board the ship & we are all ready for that. It's been a wonderful four days, but we are ready to unpack our bags and sleep in the same bed for more than one night.
I'll check in when I can... not sure what kind of internet access we will have on the ship.
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
After we left the train, we boarded a bus for an 8 hour trip into Denali National Park on the Tundra Wilderness Tour. The weather cleared up beautifully on the train and then we ended up having one of the rare days that we could actually see Mt. McKinley from the very beginning of the day until the end ~ only about 10% of visitors get the clear views that we saw yesterday! We drove within 35 miles of the mountain & it was fantastic. How blessed we felt to be part of that day. We were also fortunate enough to see Dall Sheep, Golden Eagles, tons of Caribou, moose, fox, rabbits, and then at the very end of the trip... 2 grizzley bears (momma and cub)! It was so exciting! We then found our way back to the lodge & collapsed into bed! What a day!
Today...we are on our own this morning and are just taking it easy. We board the train again at noon where we will have lunch and make our way down to Talkeetna. This evening we have a float trip planned.
Have a wonderful day ~ I'll check in when I can!
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
We are about ready to leave a cloudy and drizzling Fairbanks, Alaska this morning to catch the glass top train & beautiful Denali National Park. Later we will move on to Mt. McKinley for the night. Yesterday was a fantastic day in the 70's with full sun. We spent the morning on a Riverboat for a wonderful tour along the river (sorry I can't remember the name right now ~ but I'll fill in the details later). We saw floatplanes take off and land, a mushers training facility and an eskimo village. Then we spent some time in Downtown Fairbanks for lunch at Soapy Smith's and a quick stop to view the Alaska Pipeline. The highlight of the day was panning for gold at the El Dorado Gold Mine where we scored about $25 in gold. We got some great shots which I'll have to share later. Last night for dinner we went at the Great Alaska Salmon Bake. Then we fell into bed at 11:00pm (3:00am Eastern time)!
Well, gotta run! I'll check in when I can ~