Saturday, June 11, 2016

Mt. Denali

Mt. Denali, from Talkeetna viewpoint

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…

Mt. Denali, from Parks Highway

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…

Battery levels for camera from manual

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.

Mt. Denali, from Talkeetna viewpoint

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.

Mt. Denali, from Talkeetna Susitna River Park

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.

Mt. Denali, from Talkeetna Susitna River Park

And you can see that just a minute later, the boat is gone, and the mountain is more and more hidden behind her clouds.

Alaska Railway in Talkeetna

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!

Mt. Denali, from Willow Turnout

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. 

Mt. Denali, from Willow Turnout

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.

11 comments:

  1. We went to the Pioneer Days Parade in Palmer today and I had hope you did also. It was a wonderful small town parade. Tomorrow the Transportation and Industry museum is manned and free for this event. My friend and I will be there. Good pics you did take. I have left home without a memory card and with almost dead battery, things happen.

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    1. It took all Marcia had to get out and back into the motorhome yesterday when we went to take pictures of Denali, going out today just wasn't in the cards. We head south tomorrow morning after a quick stop at Sams Club for gas and a few items that I will pick up. Thanks for the info, would have loved to have been able to attend the festivities in Palmer yesterday and today.

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    1. If you are hikers, get the book ' 55 ways to the wilderness in South Central Alaska'. Hope I got the title correct, since I call it 55 ways to have a heart attack. It is well researched and shows all hikes and elevation and trail head parking locations. My wife has 3 books to loan guests.

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  3. Had we left an hour earlier (I wanted to post my blog about the trip over here from Glennallen) and we would have had even better pictures. There are some online live cams of Mt. Denali, and they were showing no clouds, a perfect morning. Of course, we still would have had battery problems, but it would have allowed for some great pictures. Hope you two make it up here sometime, your only problem would be how many hikes you would not have time for. :)

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  4. We briefly saw Denali when up there in 2014. Could see her from a position at the back on the Methodist church near where we were volunteering. Did not get closer due to have to leave early because of my stroke. But will get better views next year for sure. And I will remember you and keep the camera charged.

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    1. Next year is a good year to come, 75th anniversary of Alaska Highway! Hope you can get a good shot of the mountain, and glad you are feeling better.

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  5. We never saw the mountain even with taking the bus through the park. It certainly is shocking to see that whole mountain range with the giant mountain looming over it.

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    1. One reason we stayed were we did north of Anchorage was to be closer to where one could see the mountain. I just wish we would have either had charged batteries, or left an hour earlier.

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  6. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful photos and memories! I am headed to Alaska (from Arizona) next week and am so looking forward to it. Thanks for the preview!!

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    1. If you are driving from Arizona, don't diddle daddle getting up here because the weather can change quickly in September. Otherwise, have a GREAT time.

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