Denali to Anchorage
Once again, we knew we had a relatively short day ahead. So we dawdled a bit in getting out on the road. Seriously, this time. It wasn’t until about 11 or so that we finally headed out! 🤯
We cruised down the road past Denali, stopping in the park for a couple of housekeeping items. First, we needed to take pictures with the signs (which were posted in this blog as if I had taken them on the day before because I am a liar). That done, we also wanted to check out the Denali train station. I expected it to be a bit cooler than it actually is, but maybe I’m just a bit jaded on actual log construction at this point. On the other hand, two independent train station employees scoffed at our plan to go to Homer and instead steered us towards Seward (which is also on the Kenai Peninsula southish of Anchorage. A quick look at the map app told us that Seward was a 2hr trip vs. the 5hr drive to Homer. Sold! Seward was now our ultimate trip destination.
We hit the road and continued on towards Anchorage. On the way I kept noticing a cloud that looked an awful lot like a mountain. Holy crap, it’s Denali itself, disguising itself, moose-like, as if it were something else entirely!
Take my word for it, we both saw Mt. McKinley-Denali’s snowy reaches at a great distance. And frankly, we weren’t even looking. We thought that we’d be well south of the mountain based on the accessible parts of the national park. Nope!
We kept driving a bit, keeping our eyes out for good views of the mountain. Unfortunately the trees moved in, followed by more clouds. Both effectively blocked our view for most of the trip.
We sped past a sign announcing the dramatically named Hurricane Gulch, followed by the most vertigo-inducing bridge I’ve been across in awhile. We stopped on the far side and hiked around a bit to get some photos of this incredible gorge.
I kid. Paul and I continued down towards Anchorage. We passed a Denali viewing point (which was odd, because I think you can see it from virtually every point in the state), so we flipped a u-turn and pulled into the parking lot. It was…less than magical.
We sat at a picnic table and ate yesterday’s sandwiches while looking at where Denali should be. I can assure you that we probably did not drink the last beer from our Fairbanks booze run for lunch.
Lunch done, we continued our meander towards Paul’s niece’s house in Anchorage. Paul assured me several times that he didn’t need to stop to get directions to the house until we got to the City. So we got to the City, he got the directions (that he “didn’t need”) and we headed back the way we’d come for several miles…
Eventually we ended up at his niece’s lovely home….without a gift for our host because 1) we’re bad people and 2) we’ve been in the North American Outback for weeks and she’s lucky we had bathed today, really.
What can I say about Paul’s family except, damn, what amazing people. They made room for us in their home and graciously let Paul take us out to dinner! Afterwards, we sat out back and (eventually) watched the sunset while chatting and drinking some tasty local and home-brew beer. It was easily one of the most comfortable, memorable nights of the trip.
Starting Odometer: 37,145
Ending Odometer: 37,401
Daily Total: 256
Running Total: 4,838