Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Day 9 - Denali

Denali weather: High 52, low 48, Rain off and on all day, with lots of low clouds
Steps walked: This count is in question. We're not sure if the ATVs messed something up or if there was a malfunction with our Fitbits, but either way, the numbers seem a bit weird. Nevertheless, here they are: Shaun - 15,760 steps, 163 floors climbed; Shannon - 13,492 steps, 105 floors climbed
Critter count: Nothin' : (

This was our bonus day in Denali.  We had originally set this day aside to take the helicopter ride around The Mountain, but we decided to do that out of Talkeetna, which meant we had to give up a day in Anchorage but gain a day in Denali.  It worked out just fine because we had today to just have fun.

We started the day out with a one-hour ATV ride on some trails north of the park (naturally, ATVs are not allowed in the park itself).  This was our first chance to wear our rubber boots and rain gear, so we were seriously stylin'!  It was a blast except for the woman right in front of Shannon was a weenie, so she kept having to stay back until the slow poke lady made it through all the good stuff so that she didn't hit her!  It was still fun, and we drove up to 2 vistas overlooking the mountains and then down onto a gravel riverbed.  It's amazing what conditions these machines can withstand.  Shannon and I had never driven an ATV before, so it was both a learning experience as well as a fun time.

Visitor's Center

Alaska Bowl Company

After the ATV ride and lunch, we went through the dog sled demonstration and kennels and played with all the cool dogs.  After that we went through the Visitor Center until everything closed and then caught a ride to what they call Glitter Gulch, which is a series of shops and storefronts for various adventures in and around the park.  We did a bit of shopping there but not a lot because it was mostly touristy kind of stuff.  We did, however, visit the Alaska Bowl Company (again at Carl and Debbie's suggestion), and we each bought a handmade Alaskan birch cutting board.  Very cool.  Now I can throw away my yucky glass one that dulls my knives all to hell.

We finished the night eating at the world famous Salmon Bake Restaurant (at least that's what it says on the sign).  Shannon ate yak quesadillas!  She wins the prize for the most adventurous cuisine so far.  I want to make sure I get credit for the buffalo I had the other night though.  I'm not a very adventurous eater, so the salmon, reindeer sausage, elk, and buffalo I've eaten are taking a walk on the wild side for me for sure.  I actually had reindeer sausage for lunch again today.  I really like it....it's kind of spicy...just like me!

Since we'll be leaving Denali tomorrow, we had to reconnoiter our luggage because we want to do a 5-mile hike tomorrow up to a lake in the park, so we're going to send our luggage to the train when we check out and then catch up with it at 4pm when the train leaves.  I'm a little nervous about this, but we figure these hotels do this all the time, so it'll be fine.  If not, we'll just have to come back down in our car from Fairbanks.

I'm including a couple of pictures above from yesterday that Shannon tried to send via her phone but had problems getting a connection.  I didn't want her effort to be wasted, don't you know?  Oh, and for your amusement, below is a series of 3 pictures that illustrates me trying to do my first "selfie", which is what the kids call a picture you take of yourself.  I've never done one of these before (Shannon always takes the ones you see of the 2 of us since her arm is about a foot longer than mine!), so I had a bit of a problem getting the specifics right.  What can I say?  I only know enough about this stuff to make me dangerous!

First I forgot to unzoom it.... 

Then I forgot to turn the camera towards me (and it took me a few seconds to figure out what I did wrong)....

Then finally I got it, but it took both hands!

1 comment:

  1. The Alaskan Bowl company is in Fairbanks, that is where you can watch them make the bowls. Didn't you love the ability to see the "ranger" dogs and pet them :)
    The "selfie" photos were too funny....
    Our luggage made it to the train without any problems, they do have that process down pat.
    Once you get to Fairbanks, it is a pretty small train station, so you won't have any problems finding your luggage. You just have to be patient if the train is full, as it takes a little time to get it all unloaded.