Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Alaska Railroad to Denali National Park

If you like trains you will be in seventh heaven riding the Alaska Railroad to Denali National Park and beyond. Each mile brings vews of magnificent scenery and you see it all from the ARR dome cars. 

Each car comes with its own personal guide and a drinksmaster.  What more do you need?

We started out from Fairbanks early and

zipped past the test plots for the University of Alaska-Fairbanks agriculture school shortly after leaving town. This is where they do cutting edge research on how to take advantage of the state's short but intense growing season.

 In less than an hour out we were called down for a lovely breakfast in the dining car. 

Then it was back to the scenery. 

We were hoping to see a bit more animal life but had to make due with some beaver lodges and a few swans.

As we approached Denali we headed into the rugged Nenana Canyon.

The gorge deepened and we spotted a group of rafters threading their way along the river below. 

It wasn't long after that before we muscled our way under the bridge that carries Hwy 3 into McKinley Park.   If you are not planning to camp in Denali proper, this is where you stay.

McKinley Park is primarily hotels and resorts surrounding a strip of eateries, adventure trip organizers,  and souvenir stores. 

We hopped off the train and found a coach waiting to deposit us smartly at the front door of the McKinley Chalet, which would be our home away from home for the next two days.

A beary nice welcome awaited us at the chalet.

The Mckinley Chalet lobby was pretty impressive too.

More in the next couple of days.   jdy

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