Sunday, August 26, 2007

1st day in Alaska - Train from Anchorage to Denali

We were scheduled to fly into Anchorage at 8:30pm, August 25th. With a very long delay (7 hours sitting in Portland), we didn't arrive until around 3AM, and didn't get to our Bed and Breakfast until around 4AM. We were scheduled to leave by train to Denali around 8:15 that day. It wasn't fun waking up with only two hours of sleep, but I was able to stay awake during the train ride. We boarded the McKinley Explorer's rail car "Kenai". Immediately the smell of bacon filled the air, as the cooks prepared for the breakfast service they offered. I'm not a bacon person, but it did get me in the mood for breakfast.

We met our "host" Bambi, from Georgia, and other members of the staff, as we were departing the station. We had a great viewing area due to being a level up on the train, and having huge windows surrounding us.

Once out of the station, they started their breakfast service. The first part of the train ride wasn't all that scenic, and we were going through a lot of forest, with some viewable plains here and there. I decided to check out the breakfast, and ended up going with the $8 French Toast and Reindeer Sausage. It didn't fill me up, but it was good. Since they have full tables that seat four on the bottom of the rail car, you are seated with two other people. We enjoyed the company, and talked about our plans in Alaska, and they shared what they had done, and what they would be doing. We found that almost everyone around us had come in via cruise ships.

After breakfast, we headed back upstairs and listened to a lot of commentary on the area. We stopped briefly in Wasilla to hear about the history, and then continued to Talkeetna where we made another stop. From there we continued up to Denali, with maybe another stop. Occasionally they stopped to let other trains pass, and once they made a stop to change part of the crew which only went half-way. Someone later said these were mainly high school students, so they could sleep at home every night.

Now for some pictures.. I'll start with the Mt McKinley, now named Denali, but it goes by either.

Before even getting to Denali, the scenery changes drastically. I went outside to take pictures for pretty much the entire way. Mountains of all sorts were everywhere..

The only problem I found, with standing outside, were these big fluffy white things that were flying around. I've never seen these purple flowers before, but they seemed to be the source of this white stuff, which seemed to be attracted to sticking on my face and trying to find there way up my nose. In this picture you should be able to see the white stuff floating around in the was EVERYWHERE.

And again, more pictures on the way to Denali National Park.

And lastly, pulling into the Train Depot in Denali.

This is unfortunately where I stopped taking pictures until we went to the Wilderness Access Center to wait for the Shuttle to our hostel.

Before that, we went to see the Cabin Nite Dinner Theater Denali at 5:30pm. It was a great show, with great food. The cast served us, and then when we were done eating, they performed for us. In order to get waited on, our huge family style dinners (we were seated with possibly 10 others) would have to stick napkins in the air, swirl them around, and yell "Hey Joe!". Each table had something to yell for their waiter. For the record, "Joe" was a great server (no, it wasn't his real name). When he was seating me, he offered me his arm and while walking me to my seat, said someone in the cast wanted my Fraggle Rock shirt haha. Since it's one of my favorite shirts, I told him they'd have to fight me for it. The fight never did happen, so I guess they didn't want it bad enough. Yay for effortless winning!

I really wish I had brought my camera to that, but I didn't think I could for some reason. I guess when I think "theater" I think, no camera's. Must come from having worked at a theatre myself for years.

We were about an hour or two early for the shuttle to the hostel, so I played around with my camera for awhile.

By the time we got to the hostel, and I stood up, I felt as though the ground was moving. I learned that Alaska was on a fault line, and they had a lot of earthquakes yearly, but I think the ground was moving because I was so exhausted.

No comments: