For your 45th Birthday - you really are "Denali Bound" - Complete w/final thoughts - 2/17/2013 - Page 12 - PassPorter - A Community of Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel Forums
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Old 07-06-2012, 07:59 PM   #166
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Bye Bye Denali

May 23, 2012 - Part 1
The day started slowly, after we got up and put our packed bags out of our doors by 800am. Of course, our train didn’t leave until 1225pm... but the bags had to be collected so early. Chris and I opted for a large cinnamon roll for breakfast (we didn't like the buffet too much from the day before, and frankly I wasn't too hungry) from Roaring Rapids Caf and camped out on the couch to upload photos to Facebook, check emails and basically vegged. I also walked around and took photos of the lodge.

Cinnamon rolls - HUGE!!!

We sat in the corner of the main lodge, on the ground floor, surfed the internet, read books, etc (free wifi in the lodge - but no where else).

Fireplace in the lodge

Moose antlers.

Looking downstairs to where we were sitting in the corner

The upstairs waiting area - full of people... and it only got more full as the morning went on.

George and Rachel on their phones, waiting for the bus

Check in desk area

Roaring Rapids Cafe (makes me think of Roaring forks.. it was at the Wilderness Lodge after all)...

Tables at the Cafe

Move views of the lodge

Better view of the fire place

Chris downloading photos and playing on Facebook

At about 1130, Princess loaded up buses to the train station from the hotel. I will admit I very much enjoyed the fact that Princess picked up the bags from the train and took them to our rooms, and again took the bags from the hotel to the train station – and that transportation to and from the train station was all included in the stay. We made it to the train depot very quickly, checked in, got our seat assignments and went to find a place to sit and wait for the train.

Train Depot

Then we got seats outside (the only place to sit) to wait for the train to arrive from Fairbanks.

Chris reading a travel guide to see what options we have in Anchorage

Rachel and George, waiting

They had an area with placards about the history of the train station. Since I don't sit well for long periods of time, I opted to walk and read the placards.












The train arrived about 1205pm.


Unlike the trip from Fairbanks with two cruiseline cars - this time there were 5. I was worried the train would be full. I shouldn't have worried.

We were allowed to board about 1220pm. We got our seats, stowed our gear and settled in for the long 8-hour trip to Anchorage.

Next - Why did I buy him a seat??
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:32 PM   #167
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Just catching up on this TR.... What a great bday surprise!! I love all the wildlife pics!
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Old 07-06-2012, 09:04 PM   #168
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Great last dinner in Denali -- although I cannot believe that you forgot what you had for dinner! Those meatballs look excellent!
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Old 07-06-2012, 09:24 PM   #169
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Looking forward to your report on the train trip. And, thanks for the review of Prospectors. Always good to know what choices we may have next year.
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:27 PM   #170
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Dinner (well dessert) looked yummy! Great pictures of the lodge and surrounding areas! Can't wait to see pics from the train ride south!
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:31 AM   #171
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Nice photos of the lodge-- looks very cozy. An 8-hr train ride ahead! I always forget, coming from the Northeast, how large most states are, and then there's ALASKA!! 8-hours doesn't even cover a small section of that state!
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Old 07-07-2012, 01:51 AM   #172
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What a beautiful resort that was. I must admit when I first glanced at the first of your photos, I was like - my goodness there's wildlife in the resort then I realised they were statues - they're pretty lifelike at a quick glance though!
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Old 07-07-2012, 07:02 AM   #173
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Great pictures of the resort and lodge, Terri. Not getting pictures of the Dinner entree was OK, you got the most important part ... DESSERT!!! It looks scrumptious!!
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Old 07-08-2012, 11:36 AM   #174
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Great pictures from the resort. Dinner and dessert both looked really good!!
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Old 07-12-2012, 09:42 PM   #175
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Hi, Terri. I'm finally all caught up - loving the TR.
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Old 09-30-2012, 12:34 PM   #176
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Just getting all caught up! Wonderful TR so far! What a great surprise trip for Chris! I can't believe all the wildlife you saw on the tour of Denali N.P. I hope you get a chance to finish writing about the rest of the trip!
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Old 10-27-2012, 10:52 AM   #177
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Just getting all caught up! Wonderful TR so far! What a great surprise trip for Chris! I can't believe all the wildlife you saw on the tour of Denali N.P. I hope you get a chance to finish writing about the rest of the trip!
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Old 12-09-2012, 04:15 PM   #178
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Sorry I fell off the face of the earth. Life got in the way (in lots of ways) - but I have decided to pick this back up (plus I have a new PTR that I am working on) - baby steps. Posting what I can, when I can..... So - on with the updates!!
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Old 12-09-2012, 04:22 PM   #179
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Oh, good! I'm so glad you'll keep posting on this one. I'm off to read your new PTR now.
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Old 12-09-2012, 05:04 PM   #180
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From Denali to Anchorage

May 23 - Part 2

The distance from Denali to Anchorage is twice the distance from Fairbanks to Denali - so we strapped in for our 8 hour train ride. We left Denali about noon, and were scheduled into Anchorage about 8pm.

After everyone was settled into their seats - I took photos for awhile, and then I told Chris I was hungry - and we headed to the dining car. George and Rachel leaned back their seats and took a nice nap.


The Nenana river (same river we rafted in)

Instead of being in the Wilderness cafe, as we had been on the trip from Fairbanks, this time we were in the actual dining car. Table cloths, etc. We weren't exceptionally hungry, and were both totally enamored with the views outside, so we split a bowl of chili, and then split a brownie with ice cream.



While we ate we passes caribou, beaver lodges and dams, and the highest lake in Alaska - that was still basically frozen over.


Chris has a fabulous zoom on his camera.

Frozen Lake (I wish I had taken notes of the names of these places when the guides told us).


Chris with lunch taking photos



Beaver Lodge


Dam and Lodge


After we finished lunch, we headed back into the seating car. Chris took his camera and tripod and headed for the vestibule between the cars, and that is where he stayed for like the next 7 hours!!! Why did I pay for a seat??



After a couple of hours into the trip, after seeing (and not photographing) moose and a black bear, the guide said that there were two trumpter swans on a flooded marsh.

One was on the nest, while the other was swimming. I managed to get that one.

Also - we started to get close to Talkeetna - and the guide said that they had been able to see Mt. McKinley earlier in the day from Talkeetna. Sure enough - there it was!! HUGE!


It stayed with us most of the rest of the trip. We never got to see the mountain when we were in the park, like 70% of all visitors to the park... but at least we got to see it!



We continued on our way into Anchorage.

We began to pass through smaller towns and more developed areas... including Wasilla, AK.


And finally, we began to approach Anchorage. We lost Mt. McKinley and instead were presented with the Chugach Mountains that are near Anchorage.



After 8 hours, we pulled into the train station at Anchorage.

And after getting all our stuff gathered back together and ourselves off the train, we went to the luggage unloading area and waited for our bags. All 8 of them.... FINALLY we got them all, and then we went to find a cab... this poor woman ended up taking us up the hill to the Hilton - we were so close, we could have walked.. but not with all those bags :

Hilton Anchorage on the hill


Anchorage train station (and home to the Alaska Railroad) at the bottom of the hill. The white tent on the right is the luggage area.

After we made it to the hotel, and tipped the woman generously for dealing with the mass of bags and people... we checked in.

Next - Hotel rooms, getting lost and HUMPIES!!
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