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Old 07-07-2013, 10:52 AM   #16
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Oh wow, what amazing views! I have my plans already in place for our return trip in 2015, but now I want to add in more of Alaska... I guess I may have to go back to the drawing board to work out what to do.
You and Mark should definitely get into the interior of Alaska! After all, there's a National Park there! You need the stamp on your park passport. The train runs in 4 legs and we were on 3 of them: Fairbanks-Denali; Denali-Talkeetna; Talkeetna-Anchorage; and Anchorage-Seward. We were not too excited about the T-A leg and did not take the train from Anchorage to Seward, but heard it was beautiful. It is a beautiful way to travel and, in some areas, it is the only way to travel (other than plane or dogsled).
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:17 AM   #17
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What a great start! Love the pictures!
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:23 AM   #18
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Day 4-Monday, June 10
Today was a later day so we slept in a bit. We had to have our bags and our bodies out of our rooms by 10 this morning. We left the room with our bags in the hall and headed over to the lobby. It was rainy and misty this morning. We grabbed a light breakfast, muffins and fruit, from a stand in the lobby and then settled in to the comfy couches with our ipads as there was free wifi there.

At 11:30, Bill arrived and we boarded our bus for transfer to the train station. Today we were sharing the train car with the other group, so it was rather full. Lunch was being served, but the dining car only holds 40 at a time, so we had to eat in shifts of sorts. We were seated in the front of the car and they serve from the back, so we were the last to go down.

The ride was beautiful and as we traveled south, the weather became better. Good views of Mt. Denali are possible from this stretch, however, he was still in hiding.


That evening we arrived in Talkeetna. This is the town where all climbers of the mountain must check in and go through some orientation sessions. After that, they are flown to the base camps about 30 miles away. We stayed at the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, which is situated with beautiful views of the mountains.


At dinner that night, we had a wonderful window table. We had the server point out to us exactly where the mountain was located, even though we could see nothing but clouds in that area. Look closely! Somewhere in there lies Mt. Denali!


I’m glad we weren’t here a week later. The temps today were in the upper 70’s, which was ideal, however there is no air conditioning. DH loves his ac and was not happy when told to just open the window and door to the room and let the breeze come through. Later in the trip, I was checking the weather and noticed it was 95 in Talkeetna that day! We settled into our room, watched some TV and read a bit before going to bed. I had arranged for a mountain wake-up call if the mountain should show itself, before turning in.
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:44 AM   #19
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You and Mark should definitely get into the interior of Alaska! After all, there's a National Park there! You need the stamp on your park passport. The train runs in 4 legs and we were on 3 of them: Fairbanks-Denali; Denali-Talkeetna; Talkeetna-Anchorage; and Anchorage-Seward. We were not too excited about the T-A leg and did not take the train from Anchorage to Seward, but heard it was beautiful. It is a beautiful way to travel and, in some areas, it is the only way to travel (other than plane or dogsled).
Oh stop tempting me! I did have a quick look earlier, but there are so many National Parks in Alaska, and we'd need an entire vacation just to see those, so I think I'll stick to my original plans for our 2015 return to Alaska and just do the cruise. One day we'll get to those other National Parks...
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:45 AM   #20
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Beautiful scenic pictures from the train! The lodge is also beautiful. Luke wouldn't like no A/C either.
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Old 07-07-2013, 12:41 PM   #21
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Beautiful view from your room. (I'm guessing you do get a nice view of the Mountain at some point, given your lovely sig pic).

Cheryl - like Pris says, you do need to get some land touring in ... at least a trip to Denali
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Old 07-07-2013, 01:20 PM   #22
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Beautiful view from your room. (I'm guessing you do get a nice view of the Mountain at some point, given your lovely sig pic).

Cheryl - like Pris says, you do need to get some land touring in ... at least a trip to Denali
One day... I promise, just not 2015, when I want to fit in Victoria, Whistler, the Rocky Mountaineer and a few other things...
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Old 07-07-2013, 01:38 PM   #23
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Beautiful view from your room. (I'm guessing you do get a nice view of the Mountain at some point, given your lovely sig pic).

Cheryl - like Pris says, you do need to get some land touring in ... at least a trip to Denali
Actually, the room view was the parking lot at the back of the hotel. Those pictures were taken from the front patio and restaurant. Mountain views very soon.

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Beautiful scenic pictures from the train! The lodge is also beautiful. Luke wouldn't like no A/C either.
The room was stuffy when we first entered it, but once we opened the window and door, it got much better, not that DH would ever admit to that. I wouldn't have wanted to be there the next week when it hit 95, though! We had another lodge later with no ac as well, but it was it the woods and the temps were cooler that day as well, so it wasn't noticeable there.
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Old 07-07-2013, 03:56 PM   #24
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Day 5 – Tuesday, June 11
3:56 A.M. The phone rang!! “Good morning, this is the front desk. Mt. McKinley is out!” I jumped out of bed, shaking DH yelling, “the mountain is out!” We slipped on some clothes over our pj’s , grabbed the camera and room key, and headed out. Our room was in an annex and there was a nice lobby there with an outdoor patio and some chairs. We headed there immediately and found this beautiful view.

I couldn’t believe we were the only ones here. I kept looking around and up to the main patio and saw very few people. A few more drifted in and out, but one lady and I stayed around for over 30 minutes. I just couldn’t leave. I went back to the room once for bug spray, as the mosquitoes were definitely out. DH had gone back to the room, but he rejoined me then. As you can see from the pictures, there was a small cloud over the peak in the beginning, but it cleared after a little while giving us that rare cloud free mountain.

We were standing in the lobby at the window, when this little guy came trotting down the sidewalk right where we had been earlier. The lady I mentioned earlier came in shortly after that and asked if we had seen the fox. She had wandered up the hill to the main patio and followed him down from there.


After that excitement, it was back to bed for a few hours. We had all day in Talkeetna. We slept until about 10. Our bags and bodies had to be out at 11, but we weren’t leaving until around 4:30 to take the evening train. The first thing I had to see when we were out was the mountain. Was it still visible? Yep, it sure was.


We took the hotel shuttle into the town of Talkeetna. One of our first stops on our walk was the Talkeetna Cemetery. It has a little memorial area to Mt. McKinley climbers. After lunch of some delicious hamburgers, we walked the town. It is really a quaint little village with two streets. Tourism is definitely the main business here. I bought a Christmas ornament and some little treats for the dogs. We also picked up a couple of t-shirts here. After a while, we stopped in a little restaurant that is famous for its strong Alaskan beer. DH wanted to try it. They will only serve you two, so naturally he had to have two. I had a coke and finally some ice cream while he was drinking his dessert. ☺


Finally, we headed back down to catch the shuttle back to the Lodge. We spent the next couple of hours sitting on the deck just soaking in the amazing view. The mountain was out all day in splendid view. It never again shed its little cloud cap, though, so the only 100% clear view came to those who got up early. By the way, the three main peaks in the view are, from left to right, Mt. Foraker, Mt. Hunter and Mt. McKinley (Denali).


We finally loaded up on the bus and headed to the train station for our last train ride. This one was to Anchorage. Dinner was served on the train. We felt the views on this leg weren’t as exciting as the previous ones, perhaps because the mountain vistas weren’t as beautiful. We did get one last view of Mt. McKinley from the train.


It was very difficult to top the glorious views of today. DH and I just couldn't pull ourselves away from the mountain this afternoon. Before seeing it, I kept thinking to myself, "it's just a mountain." After these views, I realize it has some type of "magic" to it, for it just draws you in. Majestic is the best word to describe it, but that's really not good enough.
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Old 07-07-2013, 05:27 PM   #25
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I just love that you got a call from the desk when the mountain was visible. WOW. Not only did you see a cloud-free Denali, but saw it with the amazing morning sky. Just incredible. And Mr Fox to add to the excitement! Certain places just have more resonance than others, and from what you say, Denali is definitely one of those places.
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Old 07-07-2013, 06:06 PM   #26
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I just love that you got a call from the desk when the mountain was visible. WOW. Not only did you see a cloud-free Denali, but saw it with the amazing morning sky. Just incredible. And Mr Fox to add to the excitement! Certain places just have more resonance than others, and from what you say, Denali is definitely one of those places.
Our tour guide told us about the mountain wake up call. I thought it was interesting that it was not automated. They apparently called each room individually. That would explain why people drifted out. Of course, many also had views from their rooms and would not have to come outside to see it.
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Old 07-07-2013, 06:37 PM   #27
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How awesome that you got to see the mountain in it's full glory!!!
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Old 07-07-2013, 06:44 PM   #28
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Now, THAT is a view worth getting up for. Well done.
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Old 07-07-2013, 06:55 PM   #29
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How awesome that you got to see the mountain in it's full glory!!!
Full glory, indeed!

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Now, THAT is a view worth getting up for. Well done.
Definitely worth getting out of bed! Many on our tour did not get to see this beautiful view! The sunrise colors really set it off.
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Old 07-07-2013, 08:53 PM   #30
Cam22
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Owensboro, KY USA
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What a neat service at the hotel to have a wake up call just for a clear view of the mountain! Your photos of it are stunning! Your description of how you felt reminded me of the first time I saw the Grand Canyon. Before I saw it in person, I thought I've seen pictures I know what it looks like. But I was totally unprepared for the awe and wonder I would feel at seeing it. So glad you all got a cloud free view.
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My Previous TripsAKL Jambo April/May 2017--SSR/OKW Sept/Oct 2016 --AKL Kidani May 2016 -- Polynesian Village Resort May 2015 -- OKW/Magic December 2014 -- AKL Jambo House October 2014 -- VWL May 2014--SSR October 2013--AKL/Kidani June 2013--CBR October 2012--BWI June 2012--AKV Jambo House/Kidani Village June 2011 -- November 2010 Beach Club -- June 2010 Beach Club -- October 2009 CBR and Gaylord Palms -- June 2009 AKV/Kidani Village -- June 2008 VWL --June 2007 OKW--June 2006 Disney Wonder/SSR -- June 2005 SSR -- June 2004 VWL -- June 2003 AKL -- August 1997 Off Property -- March 1980 Cocoa Beach
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