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Talkeetna

Talkeetna

in Talkeetna

By the time we left the Denali Highway, the brilliant autumn sunshine had given way to drizzle. We continued down the Parks Highway with somewhat subdued spirits and limited views.

Gray day on the Denali Hwy.

Gray day on the Denali Hwy.

 

 

 

 

 

Louis, who has a great fondness for mountains and considerable hiking experience, dearly hoped to have fine views of Denali. This was not the day. When we stopped at Denali Viewpoint South, clouds obscured the highest peaks including Denali, though, I must say, the “foothills” are mighty impressive. Apparently, the entire mountain is visible only 20 percent of the time.

From the viewpoint in Denali State Park, we tracked back to the Lower Troublesome Creek trailhead where Louis and I took a short, but pleasant hike to the Chulitna River. The riparian terrain of this area was a treat: giant cottonwoods towered over a lush understory of tall ferns, cow parsnip and fruiting shrubs. At the river, we hopped from one sandbar to another finding washed up salmon and bald eagles feeding upon them–but no bears. Wandering through tall, dense vegetation in hopes of seeing hungry bears was not, I admit, the wisest move, but even seasoned outdoor people can be foolish. We saw animal paths and tracks, but the local bears gave us a wide berth this time.
Lower Troublesome Creek

Lower Troublesome Creek

Talkeetna Roadhouse

Talkeetna Roadhouse

 

Dinnertime brought us to the Talkeetna Roadhouse where we savored the soups, sandwiches and lively atmosphere. Like almost every other place we stopped, this one had its history: the roadhouse dates back to 1914, preceding  the highway and the railroad, a time when supplies were brought upriver and hauled by horses to remote areas.

 

Our main reason for visiting Talkeetna was to take a “float trip” down the Chulitna River; so, early the next morning, we were in a Talkeetna River Guides’ shuttle heading to the put-in at Denali State Park.  Before we launched, they dressed us like blimps with so many layers of clothing that we could barely move; but, on the water, we were grateful for the protection.  The route took us to the confluence with the Susitna River which we had seen along the Denali Highway.  After our first week, the geography of the region was beginning to make sense.  We enjoyed our rafting trip:   it was a good way to see a remote area and its wildlife including a black bear cub, a river otter, and many bald eagles (we stopped counting at 35!).   Once again, cloudy skies obscured what surely would have been spectacular views of Denali and  neighboring peaks.  Oh well.

 

For maps, weather, resources and helpful recommendations, please visit the Trip Planning page.

 

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