From the 63rd parallel in Kantishna, it took several flights and a seven and a half hour train ride to get back to Austin over the course of 24 hours. When we left Kantishna, it was about 42 degrees.
Denali Backcountry Lodge
Rather than take the six-hour bus ride from Kantishna back along the park road, we opted for a 40-minute flight with Kantishna Air Taxi. Fortunately, the weather held out for us—cloud ceilings of 2000 to 3000 feet AGL meant that we could fly about 1500 to 2000 feet above the ground and get a good view of the tundra and wildlife on our way back to the Denali Depot.
Our Cessna U206D Super Skywagon, built in 1969
In the lower right of the photo above, you can see the bus used by Christopher McCandless, who was attempting to live off the land by himself before he perished. He was the subject of Jon Krakauer’s book, Into the Wild.
Denali Depot and the main Visitor’s Entrance to Denali National Park
Coming in for our landing at Denali Depot
After arriving at Denali Depot, we boarded the Alaska Railroad southbound for our return to Anchorage. We had beautiful scenery along the way.
We spent the night in Anchorage before our long flights to Texas. When we arrived in Austin, it was 101.
I’ll probably create another blog post in the next few days to cover a few things that didn’t fit into my earlier posts. Stay tuned.
I apologize for not posting in a few days. Our days have been full, and the internet less than speedy and reliable, so updating the blog took a back seat.
In Skagway, we took the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad to White Pass, briefly crossing into Canada before returning to Skagway.
The next port of call was Sikta, where our good weather karma started to run out. Our last day at sea met swells up to 18 feet, and winds up to 50 knots, as a large storm passed from west to east, as we went through in the opposite direction. This same storm caused significant flooding in Sikta the day after we were there.
In the photo below from somewhere in the Gulf of Alaska, note the relationship between the horizon and the boat. Our motion sickness patches worked great, though.
One of the highlights of our trip so far was a stop at Happy Trails Kennels, home of Martin Buser, a four time Iditarod champion. We loved the excitement of the dogs, playing with some 10-week-old puppies, and sitting in Martin and Kathy’s home talking about dog training philosophy.
We next worked our way up to Talkeetna, where the good weather karma returned. Denali is only visible about 30% of the time. Many people come to Alaska and stay for days without seeing it. Here are a couple of photos from Wednesday evening and Thursday morning. These are from about 60 miles away.
Tomorrow, we will probably be off the air for a couple of days in the Denali Backcountry. More when we return.