Talkeetna, Base of Denali National Park

Talkeetna, Alaska is nestled at the base of Denali National Park. On a clear day, you can see Mt. Kinley in all it’s glory on the drive up to Talkeetna but sadly, that was not the case for us. Jackie has heard that McKinley/Denali (I will refer to the mountain as McKinley from here on out) is only visible 20% of the time and we fell into the 80% that did not see McKinley on our journey to Talkeetna.

We specifically chose that day to go to Talkeetna because the weather was forecasted to cooperate between the hours of 12pm to 2pm. Jackie took up to the top of the mountain by her house to see if we could see McKinley but the clouds were just too dense. McKinley should be to our right in the picture above.

This picture was taken just outside of Talkeetna, about two hours up the road from Anchorage. Again, McKinley should be visible but the clouds were just too much. I thought I could make out a peak, but it was probably just more clouds.

Talkeetna is a quaint little town that caters to tourist wishing to fish, raft, and flightsee around McKinley. According to Wikipedia, the population is 772 and the town is thought to be the inspiration for Cicely, Alaska, the fictional town in Northern Exposure.

One example of the quirkiness of Talkeetna – a shop owner told us all about the controversy surrounding The Moose Dropping Festival, an event that involves betting on varnished pieces of moose poop that are then dropped from a helicopter onto a target. It seems like PETA took the name Moose Dropping too literal and wanted to start a campaign to cancel the festival due to the misconception that the residents of Talkeetna were dropping moose from a helicopter. The shop owner said it took hours upon hours of phone conversation to clear up the matter. Sadly, the festival was cancelled in 2009 but there is hope to resurrect it in the future.

We ate lunch at The Roadhouse, a charming restaurant and lodge. I will go into more detail about our meal in the Alaskan food blog post I have planned. The Roadhouse is one of the oldest buildings on Main Street and President Harding is said to have stopped by in 1923, when Alaska was still a territory.

The tables are long and you eat surrounded by strangers who will become friends by the end of the meal. We ate lunch with a lovely couple who are from Alaska and were just visiting Talkeetna for the day. They were both children of military fathers who were stationed in Alaska during the 60s and decided to stay because Alaska is just that special. The couple enjoyed hearing about how Jackie and I became friends at Ft. Drum and appreciated how close friendships become with the military lifestyle.

We have been through a lot. Jackie and I talked about how fun it would be if Fran, Erin, and Briana were with us too. We’re all moms now and spread across the country so planning a weekend get together takes immense scheduling. But we’re committed. Our last Girls Weekend was March 2008 so we’re due for another one soon. Maybe this winter? NYC, anyone?

I keep telling Clay that I want to live in Alaska. At least for a couple of years. Forget about Hawaii, Germany, Japan, or Italy – I want Alaska. Luckily Clay has been bitten by the same bug. We’ve been assured that the winters aren’t any worse than the ones we experienced up at Ft. Drum and we’ve learned that we much prefer cooler temperatures and changing seasons. Will we ever have the opportunity to live in Alaska? Only time will tell. Will I dream about it? You betcha.

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