Our last couple of days have been spent right outside of Denali National Park in Healy, Alaska. We pulled into town around 3:00 pm on Thursday and headed straight for the diner down the road. "Rosie's" was just what we needed after a long drive in the rain. Delicious homemade food, real old-fashioned malts, and lots of town gossip. The most exciting thing we heard was from a group of 4 teenagers (yes, we were eaves-dropping!).
It turns out this group of teenagers decided they were going to drive down the Stampede Trail and attempt to take the same route Chris McCandless did in 1994 before he starved to death. (For those of you unsure of this story - read the book "Into the Wild" or you can watch the movie that came out a few years ago.) Anyway, they got stuck for about 12 hours and search and rescue had to go and get them after family members called them in missing. The funniest part was when we read about the story on Yahoo.com later. See Story Here.
Our second day in Healy we decided to take a White-Water Rafting trip. Although I have been several times in Oregon, I have never gone in this cold of water. Plus, KC had never been at all, so we were pretty excited. Rafting in Alaska consists of Gortex Dry-Suits and LOTS of lessons about what to do if you fall in. :) Overall, the rafting was fun but definitely not as exciting as Oregon rapids. I think we only had three Class 3 rapids and one Class 4.
Yesterday we decided to trek into Denali National Park. Guests are only allowed to drive personal vehicles 15 miles down the 90 mile park road. So, KC and I decided to take one of the shuttles deep into the park. It is an 8-hour round trip shuttle ride - if you don't get off your bus and go hiking. Our end point was mile 66 on the park road (it would have been 13 hours to go to the end of the road!!!)
We did stop several times for wildlife, and we were lucky enough to see Moose, Grizzly Bears, Caribou, and Dall Sheep. At one point there was a Wolf that everyone else could see too - but we are a little blind. :) At mile 66 is the Eielson Visitor's Center with a stunning view of Mt. McKinley. Well, stunning if there is no cloud cover. They say there is a 30% chance of seeing the Mountain. Unfortunately for us, the most we saw was the base, but we did get to see lots of wildlife.
Last night we tried to be fun young people, and we headed into town to listen to a bluegrass band playing at one of the local bars. We arrived at 9pm thinking it would be starting soon, and we felt really pathetic when they told us it wouldn't start until at least 11pm. We even considered going straight home, but we decided to stick it out and have a couple of beers while we waited. We only made it until 10:45pm. I think the waitress felt bad for us, cause she gave us the Snickers Pie for free. :)
Today we decided to check out some of the local geocaches. For those of you unsure of what geocaching is, check out this WEBSITE. It's really fun and KC and I have seen lots of scenic places we might otherwise have missed if we weren't geocaching. After that, we went back to the park and checked out the Sled-Dog Demonstration. If you know KC at all, you realize he has a bit of an obsession with Sled Dog Teams.
Rounding out the day, we drove around Healy a bit and took the dogs for a bike ride down the Stampede Trail. Just started raining again as well. For all of you in a heat wave....just remember...at least it is not still raining.
Love you and miss you all!