Friday, July 18, 2014

Foto Friday: Can Denali Come Out & Play?

Day 2: The Train Up from Anchorage to Denali & Our First Excursion!
New? Check out last week's Foto Friday to catch up! 

After a quick night's sleep we woke up early to board the bus and train up from Anchorage to Denali! 

We were so excited to see the interior of Alaska!
Rah introducing us to Alaskaaa!

It was a 6 hour journey, mainly because the train ran on the original tracks of the Alaska Railroad laid between 1903 and 1923 (Read more about the Alaska Railroad here) but it was so incredibly scenic and a great introduction to the last frontier.

Our group about to board the bus!
The sisters!

While onboard the train, we searched for wildlife: 

Even though we were unsuccessful in finding moose that day, we were incredibly lucky to glimpse Mt. McKinley, or Denali as there has been a congressional decision to start using the original name given the mountain by the native Alaskan population.  Denali is a very shy mountain and there is only a 30% chance of seeing her beauty on any given day.

The train also took some extra time as there is literally only one track, both northbound and southbound trains have to use the same track. The conductors communicate and alternate which trains get right of way and which trains have to pull over to side track and wait 10-20 minutes for the opposite moving train to pass

Timed this perfectly to catch the passing train!

view from the train car

Front of the train about to cross the 300 ft. bridge!

Denali looking fab!

The ladies Mom, Me, Kae, Rah, and Denali (although not all of us were quite ready)!

My wonderful parents and awesome Grandpa Tony!

Trying to catch the breeze and the cottonwood fluffs

What a view!

We made it to Denali, Alaska!
Once we unpacked at the Denali Bluffs hotel, it was time for our first official excursion.  It was something we decided to do rather late since we had traveled almost nonstop at that point.  My mom was really great in getting us all on board because it was a perfect end to the day and Tony could join in on this. My grandpa is 88 and is so much cooler than me, I hope to be able to do half the stuff he can at his age!

We couldn't actually go in the Park, they have a lot of limitations to keep the area as untampered with as possible, but we were able to ride around the north side of Denali National Park, in an area made famous by the book and movie Into the Wild (something we were reminded like 44,000 times). It was a great first excursion and the guides were wonderful, something we'd come to find with every tour/excursion we took!

Tony and his girls!

The Most Adventurous Father/Daughter Duo Around!

Stopping for a scenic viewpoint, check out Tony's skillz!

The rebellious younger generation took our helmets off when we stopped

Yoga everywhere!

<3 this picture!

Oh how I moose Alaska!

On the way to and from the ATV site from "downtown" Denali -- which was essentially a half-mile stretch of hotels, tourist shops, restaurants, and excursion offices -- we crossed over the Nenana 
River, on which a group of us would take a white-water rafting trip the next day. But that's a story for next week's post...

You can glimpse a rainbow over that far mountain, so gorgeous!


P!nky said...

Gah! So beautiful! I love it!!! I miss it!

Marybeth said...

Nice sunnies! :)