Saturday, June 11, 2016
Yes, that is her…Mt. Denali, formerly known as Mt. McKinley. Estimates are that only 20-30% of the Alaska summer visitors get to see Mt. Denali in all her glory. As you can see, we have some cloud cover…and the clouds only got worse. However…
As we were driving toward our selected viewing area on Friday, the town of Talkeetna about 60 miles north from where we are camped, we had unobstructed views of the mountain along the way. There are several turnouts, including a real good one in the Willow area, but there was just one very huge problem…
This is what the manual says about our camera(s) batteries. Yep, the newer camera had a battery signal of “FLASHING RED”. So we do what we always do, take the batteries out of the older camera (one model earlier than our new camera, they use same battery), put them in the newer camera...and you guessed it…it was “FLASHING RED” too. Oh darn! Here we have the most beautiful mountain in the United States, the largest mountain in North America, the third most prominent peak in the world (see List of peaks by prominence), and we don’t have charged batteries for either of our cameras!!!! But wait, there is hope…I have prepared for this moment. I carry a charger in the camera case. I have a inverter in the car that will power the charger. All we need is time. So I stop, I plug it in, and drive on. Five minutes later we get to the pullout at Willow…it has not been enough time…the mountain is wonderful, very few clouds, no camera…clouds are moving in from the west…hurry and charge, we drive on to Talkeetna. Marcia, with battery in old camera, turns it on…it works, but is flashing…we have one shot, I quickly take it (second shot above), the camera shuts down. I don’t even know if the shot wrote to the flash card or not until we got back home. Tension, anticipation, hope, discouragement…all these emotions abound as every view of the mountain comes and goes without a snap of the camera.
As you arrive into Talkeetna, there is a wonderful pullout, and you get a very good view of not only Mt. Denali, but the surrounding mountains which are part of the Alaska Mountain Range, one of Alaska's largest, starting at Alaska's eastern border with Canada, arcing across the north of Southcentral Alaska, ending to the west of the Kenai Peninsula. But it is Mt. Denali which the range is most famous for.
We drive through Talkeetna, use the facilities at the river park, and I walk to the view of the mountain by the Susitna River. The camera’s battery, by the way, was charged to the 50% mark, and the other battery is charging…so that no longer is an issue. This boat is a tour boat, and they just launched into the river, and he guns the boat’s engine just enough to hold the boat steady as they view the mountain.
And you can see that just a minute later, the boat is gone, and the mountain is more and more hidden behind her clouds.
Talkeetna is a quaint little town, one of the stops of the Alaska Railroad line running between Anchorage and Fairbanks. With the train stopped in Talkeetna, it did bring a lot of people into the town. Where places like Skagway rely on the Cruise Industry for tourist, Talkeetna relies on the trains. There are a couple of RV parks in and around the town, and later, after spending the rest of June and part of July along the Kenai Peninsula, we will probably spend a few days in Talkeetna hoping to get another view of this majestic mountain. And you can bet that our camera’s batteries will be fully charged all the time we are there too!
As we head back, I pull into the turnout at Willow, walk out to where one “could” see the mountain if it is not shrouded in clouds, and take the picture.
In the middle, you can just see her peaks…until next time lady mountain, at least we hope there is a next time.
Today is a bit of rain, very overcast, and a good day to get a few things done around the motorhome, a bit of shopping, and rest for Marcia's arm. Marcia is still in pain from her fall, but not as much pain as she was, and she is able to move her arm more and more with less pain…so things are getting better. It is hard to get in and out of the motorhome, no more than once per day at the most.