Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Alaska and the Yukon - Denali to Anchorage, AK

July 18
Denali National Park to Anchorage, AK

As usual on a travel day, I had to get up early to put our bags for pickup, but since we didn't have to leave until 9:45, I went back to bed for a while.  The train station is a few miles from the hotel so we got on a bus to the station and were soon boarding the train.  Although the engines and tracks were owned by Alaskan Railway, the cars belonged to Holland America. These cars were top notch and so comfortable. The upper level had a domed, glass ceiling with super comfortable seating and a dining car on the lower level.  There was also outside viewing platforms so we could take pictures without having to shoot through the windows.  All in all, a very nice train ride

The train was Alaska Rail, but the car was Holland America.
Val anticipating a wonderful train ride to Anchorage.

Inside our dome car.

It was about an eight hour train ride to Anchorage so we settled back to enjoy the trip.  The scenery was magnificent as the train ran through forests and along rivers, with mountains in the background.  I spent a lot of time out on the viewing platform taking pictures and enjoying the scenery.  When we left Denali it was cloudy, but as the day went on we had more and more sun.  After a few hours on the train we had a very good lunch in the dining car and then it was back to sitting back and enjoying the scenery pass by.  There is a guide in every car who gives information on the area and Alaska in general.  Except for the last hour of the trip when we got near Anchorage, the train traveled through a wilderness area broken only by the occasional signs of habitation. Again, rather than try to narrate our journey, here are pictures of train ride to Anchorage.

We pass our Denali home, McKinley Chalet Resort, just after we leave the station.
The Tenana River.

The conductor.
The conductor and our car tour guide.

Our Journey Host, Anita.
Anita took pictures of everyone in our group and gave us the pictures as mementos.
Val had caribou chili for lunch and said it was very good.

We stopped in Takeetna to drop off and pick up some passengers for the Princess cars behind us.

Sarah Palin's home in Wasilla, which is just outside of Anchorage. 
Our guide said she no longer lives there, but did when she was running for vice president.
We made it to Anchorage.
The day went by quickly and we arrived in Anchorage around 6:00 PM and were soon in our hotel rooms.  We were both tired as we didn't sleep too well last night so we opted for a disappointing dinner in the hotel and called it a night.

Tomorrow we have a trip to the Spencer Glacier, which includes a rafting trip.  We had forgotten we booked it so it was a surprise when we got our travel agenda when we arrived in Anchorage.  It looks like a great trip, but it will be a very long day.

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