The classic Talkeetna getaway involves a flight up through Denali. Hudson Air was friendly and our pilot, Jock, was the best. (This from a guy who HATES to fly). We felt safe and comfortable with Jock, and he did not try to take advantage of my queasiness with sudden or dazzling flight maneuvers.
We awoke at 08:30 and saw some blue sky. After being cloudy the previous day we took the plunge and booked a flight past Mt McKinley and a glacier landing…if we were lucky.
We booked with Denali Air Taxi and Rico, our pilot sets off with 6 passengers. The flight costs were dependant on whether we were lucky enough to get good enough weather for a landing.
We were picked up from our hotel at 10:30 for the 11:00 flight.
It was a nice flight through the clouds and around the peaks. There were a few pilots up in the air that morning and so there was a fiar amount of chatter amongst them as the all tried to find a way through. Then the pilot turned to us all and asked if we were up for a landing? Great stuff as we land on Ruth glacier – fabulous.
We then spend around twenty minutes on the glacier. I think we were the second plane to land that morning and so the scene was very peaceful. Didn’t quite have enough time for a snowman.
Two of our fellow passengers turned out to be a Swiss couple who were both pilots. The said that if it were them flying that they wouldn’t have had a chance of getting through the clouds to look for a landing spot, so well done to our pilot Rico!
We then sadly took off and had a flypast of the peak of McKinley and landed back at Talkeetna at 12:30.
This trip is well worth the money and I can’t recommend it enough and I still proudly wear the T-Shirt.
We popped in here just in time to catch the twice daily ranger talk on the varoius ways of climbing up Mount McKinley (Denali). One of the cabins has a great mountain exhibit room which shows you in detail a three dimensional model of the mountain and surrounding area.
There was a question raised about the name the mountain. "Is it called McKinley or Denali?” The answer was interesting as it is happy to be called either. The name McKinley is after the American President, who never actually saw the mountain but I hear was in office at the time that Alaska wanted to be recognised as a State. The Denali name is the local name, which I suppose is the most preferred. The choice is yours to make.
This is a very low impact walk! Don't expect to get winded at all! They stop to do the nature talk and take their time. It's informative to those who might not know the natural history or even local history of the McKinley area. It is a 2 1/2 hour nature walk along Byers Lake. You see an old trappers/ homestead cabin. Nice history lesson here. Very easy trail. At the end, they drove up to the next look out area (think it's a War Memorial) where there is a great view of Mt. McKinley, which at that point is about 25 miles away. Remember: only about 25 % of visitors to the area even SEE the summit of Mt. McKinley in the summer.
This is a nice trip. The one I took was the Three Rivers Tour on the jetboat. The rivers traveled are: the Talkeetna, Chulitna, and Susitna. The tour lasts 3 1/2 hours...but maybe more! They do drop off Cruise people at the Princess Lodge at the 3 1/2 hour point...and then it takes a good 45 minutes to get back to Talkeetna. that part was great as we only had 5 left on the boat! the tour includes a few stops. read all about it on their website.
We had an excellent time at the kennels. We were picked up in downtown Talkeetna and taken to the home of Jerry Sousa and his family.
Once there, we were given a talk and demonstration of dog sledging and then it was off to hook up the dogs, attaching them to a summer sledge with wheels, and then off for a training run in the local rods and woods. Great fun.
At the end of the tour they make sure that you all get hands on experience of any puppies they have. They say it helps the dogs become more accustomed to people and helps them in their training of the dogs.
One interesting comment from Jerry during his talk was that he visualises all the people that come on his tours not as intruders into his world but as sacks of dog food. We were happy to oblige in keeping them feed.
Talkeetna and the surrounding area lies in a valley surrounded by the Alaskan Range to the west and the Talkeetna Mountains to the east. Although the Alaskan Range is higher and more famous, the Talkeetna Mountains are also impressive, and you can take some nice photos at Talkeetna or along the highway.
This is an old building that I doubt will ever have my name on a sign! But I used to live in there. My first hamster Sammy died because it was so cold and drafty.
This log cabin is right next door to Don Sheldon's old red hangar. Don Sheldon was a famous Denali bush pilot.
This picture was taken in May 2002
Talkeetna is a small enough town that you can easily walk to all the town's historic buildings. I can't read the sign on this Historical Building in the picture I took. I will update this for accuracy, but when I lived in Talkeetna the owners were still living in the house, and I can't remember their names. I do remember that we used to go and get strawberries from their patch. I don't think it was appreciated, but it was a memory I'll keep all my life.
This picture was taken in January 1998.
Visit Talkeetna and take a flight to the Alaskan Range. Talkeetna is a rustic small town which is famous as a base for climbers of Mt McKinley, the highest mountain in North America. Talkeetna is definitely work a visit on your way from Anchorage to the north.
When in Talkeetna, do not miss the plane ride to see the Alaskan Range, and if you are lucky you can see Mt McKinley on a clear day and get to land on a glacier ! The ride lasts about 1 to 1.5 hours, and do be careful if you have motion sickness because the air turbulance can be violent at times. The photo on the left is a shot of Ruth Glacier from the small plane which I took. If you want to see more photos, go to http://www.geocities.com/TheTropics/Island/2388/denali2.htm
Scenic flights around the mountain
conversations with local (at LEAST 15 year residents)artists, pilots, guides, characters. (there are damn few, most of the wannabees will make the claim but after 5 minutes you will know they are full of ----)
Relax and relate....the pub after 10:30p in August
A summitt flight is a great idea if you hit town on one of the 20-30 days a year that Denali (Mt. McKinley) is actually 100% visible. Apparently, the mountain is often shrouded in clouds and fog, so if you catch it on a clear day, cherish the moment.
Take a trip down one of the many rivers that have access from Talkeetna. Talkeetna River Guides is the WAY to go!
There are lots of huge icefields & glaciers in the Alaskan Range, which you can experience by a mountain flight from Talkeetna.
Each year, many people come to Talkeetna to prepare for a climb up Mount Mckinley, the highest mountain in North America.