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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Iditarod Trip, Talkeetna Area – Part I

From Race to the Talkeetna Lodge

Everybody finally arrived back at the bus and Bill soon had us on our way to Talkeetna, just up the highway from Willow Lake. We stop just a bit up the highway and take another pix of Denali. Today is still even better than the first day of the trip. There is such definition to the mountain; you can see such details. It’s just amazing. I never saw the mountain from a distance like this, EVER! Back on the highway, we’re only 45 minutes or so from our destination for the evening.

Watching the mountain at every turn in the road, it remains unbelievable the view we are getting. I realize that I am going on and on about, but if you’ve never seen this before like we are today, you would know how astounded I am at this opportunity. I’ll give you a look a little further on.

We had been told that our reservations at the lodge we were intended to stay at had been moved back to the lodge we were originally signed up for. This concerned most of us just a bit. We had no idea what we were in for. As Bill negotiated the icy road to the lodge off the main drag to Talkeetna, we slowly made our way up the hill toward the crest of the lower portion of the steep cliff we knew would be our overnight homewhatever it contained.

We were greeted at the walk leading up to these grand front doors by Matt, the resort manager; a gut with the droll duty to have to live on the resort property year round. He gave us a quick intro and assigned us our room keys. We went off to store our luggage and dress down a bit for the evening’s activities. I hurried back quickly to the lobby to try to get in a few pix of the mountain with something just a bit better than mi iPhone camera.

The Mountain - Denali

This is the view from the magnificent back deck of the Talkeetna Lodge:

View from back deck of the Talkeetna Lodge

Another view but zoomed in just a bit

A little more zoom and cropped a bit

Isn’t the definition on the mountain great when zoomed in close?
Check out the storm blowing off the top left of Denali!

My question to my Facebook friends that evening was: "Could you be forced to wake up to this view every day of the world?"

Before loading the bus to go get our evening meal, I cornered Matt, our host, and asked him directly: “Would you be willing to take me on for room, board and a small stipend if I hung around the lobby for 10 to 12 hours a day, talk with the guests and tell some stories (some of which I promise to be true)?” He sounded pretty acceptable to the notion. I thought to myself: “I’ll have to work on him a little bit. I think he’ll come around.”

The Denali Brewing Company

Getting out of the lodge parking lot took Bill some 15 minutes or so. In another 5, we were in downtown Talkeetna and parked in front our provider for the dinner meal, the Denali Brewing Companythis establishment was not on the Talkeetna City Directory the last time I was in town. At that time there were only two cafes that operated in Talkeetna year round and this wasn’t one of them. The Brew House is located on the North side of the main drag, east of the Talkeetna Roadhouse and just west of Nagley’s General Storevery easy to find in a remote Alaskan town only 2 blocks long. Denali Brewpub, Talkeetna Alaska

Once seated and preached the rules to. We were very optimistic about our evening meal. First, we had to sample some of their local brew. This also turned out to be very interesting and very pleasurable. The grub was outstanding alsoreally tasty! I had the pulled pork sandwich with onion rings and home fries.

The Denali Brewing Company

Talkeetna (in general)

On our way back to the lodge, we received the usual lecture from Trenton and Bill (taking turns):

Downtown Talkeetna is designated a National Historic Site. Three of its buildings date back to the very early 1900s: The Talkeetna Roadhouse (1917), Nagley's General Store (1921) and the Fairview Inn (1923).

Stubbs the Cat is the unofficial Mayor of Talkeetna, having served so for over a decade now. His official residence is Nagley’s General Store. Stubbs was the runt of a litter found in the store’s parking lot in 1997Stubbs was also tailless. He does have his own Facebook page:

Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge

Back at the Lodge; some went straight to bed, some sat around the fire, while others contemplated staying up to see the Northern Lights (aurora borealis) that had been showing themselves around 0200 in the early morning. They were reported to last only 45 minutes and appeared to be very weak. I chose to forego this treat as I had seen them many times in the past when they might go on (in four colors) for hours and hours; mesmerizing the onlookers. Seeing just a figment might ruin my memories so I stayed in bed once I got there.

After arriving back at the lodge after dinner – getting the fire stoked up

Benjamin and Trenton relaxing in front of the fire after a long day

Tour Group – gathered (while Trenton went to change – Sorry! Trenton)

OK, you've had time to mull it over. Could you wake up to this on a daily basis? The best answer I received at the time was from my longtime friend (grade school through high school and having spent time with her husband serving in Alaska) Judy Hyde Guthrie: Pure heaven! You can't truly appreciate it for all it is until you see it in person!

Moore soon!

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