Alaskan Adventure Day Four: Denali to Anchorage

As I write today’s post, I’m in a hotel room in Anchorage with a gorgeous westward view toward Cook’s Inlet, which would make for a brilliant sunset, if only the sun would set. (The Weather Channel app on my phone claims that every day we’ve been here has had a sunrise and a sunset, but I’ll be damned if I’ve seen anything resembling actual darkness yet.) Actual sunset or not, it is pretty:


Today started out in Denali, where there was an extreme absence of sun – the cloud cover was so dense that the sightseeing flight I was supposed to take to actually see the mountain was cancelled due to low visibility. I’m really disappointed it didn’t work out – it was the one thing I was told was a must-do in Alaska – but I am also the tiniest bit relieved, since the idea of flying in a 6-8 person plane scares the snot out of me.

Once my excursion was cancelled I joined Mom, JoAnn, and Nick for the free morning we were allotted. (Nowhere to be until 11:30!) The timing of the cancellation caused us to miss the shuttle to the park’s visitors center, so rather than wait an hour for the next one, we decided to walk from town. This was either a one or three mile jaunt, depending on who was giving us instructions, but given how long it took – pretty much all the free time we had left – I’m leaning towards the latter.

It was a gorgeous walk, though, and given all the bus time yesterday (and knowing we had an eight-hour train ride in our future) it felt particularly good to be on foot.


And yes, you read that correctly: an eight-hour train ride. We went from Denali to Anchorage in the “gold star” class on the Alaska Railroad. This meant we had an almost all-glass upper deck car:


And our own bar:


And an amazing outdoor observation deck:


And two full meals – lunch and dinner – served about two and a half hours apart. We were very full when we got off the train.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that we passed through Wasilla, but I must have been on the wrong side of the train, because I totally could not see Russia from where I was sitting.


Tomorrow we have a tour of Anchorage and then head of to Seward to meet the boat for the cruise portion of the trip. I think (hope) the pace slows a little bit at that point. Unlike most of the folks on this trip, I am not retired, and therefore I like my vacations to include at least a little sleeping in and relaxing.

One thought on “Alaskan Adventure Day Four: Denali to Anchorage

  1. Eileen June 29, 2012 / 8:29 am

    I’m loving reading about your adventures. Sounds wonderful and beautiful. Sorry Denali didn’t work out but yikes a 6 passenger plane?! I think all I’d see was the inside of the barf bag. And sorry you missed Russia. Maybe you need special R glasses to see that far 🙂

    Keep having fun!

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