Monday, August 11, 2014

Alaska and the Yukon - Denali National Park Day 2

July 17
Denali National Park

Today we slept in and then spent the morning in the lodge having some juice and a pastry and using the Wi-Fi to catch up on our e-mail.  We did have one exciting thing happen - we received an e-mail from Holland America telling us that for the cruise portion of our trip we had been upgraded to the penthouse suite!  That is the biggest cabin (945 sq. feet) on the ship (there is only one) and we never thought we would be staying in it.  Why they chose us to upgrade we don't have a clue, but we're certainly not going to question it.  We finished the morning by catching the shuttle to the visitors center and checked that out.  We just missed the shuttle back and had a half hour wait until the next one so we walked over to the train station where we would catching the train to Anchorage tomorrow.  When we finally got back to the hotel it was time for lunch so Val and I split a sandwich and then it was time for our rafting trip.   

We finally got to see Deanli!  Unfortunately, this was just a relief map at the visitors center.
It was supposed to be just a float trip, but we found out that cameras are not allowed unless it is waterproof, which I didn't bring along.  Oh well, no pictures of this trip.  We were bused to the starting point where we were issued boots and a dry suit which covered you from head to toe.  Even though it was billed as a float trip, the water temperature is in the low 30's and there is some rough water so hence the dry suit.  The trip was great, but the guide wasn't nearly as knowledgeable as our guide on the Dawson City float trip.  We floated down through the wilderness with forests on both side and views of mountains above.  Best of all though was that for the first time since we had been in Denali the sun came out, it was a beautiful afternoon.  After a twelve mile float down the Tenana River our trip ended and we were bused back to the hotel.  It was really a nice rafting trip through very beautiful country.  The river was much rougher and choppier than our float trip on the Klondike, but compared to our Grand Canyon rafting experience, pretty tame.  In retrospect I don't know why they wouldn't allow cameras as it really wasn't that rough, but they set the rules.

This is where our float trip will start from.  You could see it from the hotel.

No cameras that weren't waterproof, but they will sell you a picture they take.
We were back to the hotel around 5:00 and had an early dinner and then I took a walk along the river to get some pictures when the sun was actually shining.   

The views from my walk around the lodge.


The view from the balcony outside our hotel room.

Tomorrow we take the train to Anchorage so we have to put the bags out early again for pick-up so we spent the rest of the evening organizing our suitcases and switching things around, and taking it easy.  The train ride is supposed to be very beautiful so we are looking forward to that.

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