We spent ten days in Alaska this month. The weather was almost perfect with only one rainy day which coincided with an 8 hour train trip.
We stayed at the Hilton, where I stayed when I was there 23 years ago. We had dinner the first night at Simon and Seaforts, which I considered the best sea food restaurant I had ever visited. For some reason the food was not as good as I remembered but it was still full on Thursday night.
The next morning, we got up early and caught a bus at the Convention Center, called the Eagan Convention Center. There followed a six hour bus ride, broken by a short stop at McKinley Wilderness Lodge, about opposite Mount McKinley (Denali now).
The view from the Lodge is terrific. We were still a long way from our destination, however.
The bus finally dropped us off at The Denali Cabins, which are right outside the park on The Parks Highway.
There we were picked up by another bus, this one to take us to the The Denali Backcountry Lodge, another 92 miles into the park.
The Backcountry Lodge is a private company that occupies (with some passive resistance by the Park Service) some old gold mining claims. It was not there when I visited the Park 23 years ago although the gold claims go back to before the park existed. There is another lodge back there called The Kantishna Roadhouse, and the whole area is a community called Kantishna, although some old prints show that the name was originally Kantshitna. You can’t find a link to the old name but it was there on a photo of an ancient poster.
We left the Denali Cabins at 1 PM and arrived at the Backcountry Lodge at 7:45 PM, a trip of seven hours. Part of that is the 92 miles, of which the last 72 are gravel. Part of the time was spent looking at animals we encountered in the park.
This was the first bear we saw on the way. We also saw caribou.
Here are two about 100 yards away. When I was there before, 23 years ago, we saw caribous cross the road just ahead of us but not this time.
Finally, we arrived at the lodge just in time for dinner, which they had delayed about 45 minutes for us. There were about 30 people staying there and our table mates remained as such the next few days.