Alaska, Day 2: On the Road to Denali

Saturday, July 21. 2012

We woke up and got breakfast at Snow City Cafe, a cute place in downtown Anchorage. I ordered reindeer sausage to keep it local, plus it’s delicious. Afterwards, we walked around and checked out some souvenir shops, received an ulu knife  as a free gift with purchase, and stopped into the Visitors Center (which I was banned from entering because I totally forgot the ulu knife was in my bag and tried to pass it through the government-operated building’s security screening.)

Finally, we were able to pick up our RV and get started on the 5-hour drive to Denali National Park. We stopped at the most scenic Wal-mart I’ve ever seen to pick up provisions for our 3 days in the Savage River campgrounds.

most scenic Wal-mart ever

The drive to Denali was wooded, gorgeous, and lined with a surprisingly large amount of fireworks stores. It rained throughout most of the day, and we didn’t see any wildlife during the drive minus some dogs running free near the street.

parked at our Savage River campsite, first night

inside view

After having dinner and drinks inside the RV while playing Cards Against Humanity, the rain finally stopped. We emerged from the RV during the bright midnight hour, and Kurt and I walked down to Savage River to check out the scenery. I don’t think we used our headlamps once during the entire trip. Seeing the vast open sky and mountains looming along the horizon, I realized that no camera was ever going to capture the true awe of being there, a feeling that I’d experience pretty much constantly through the rest of the trip.

this photo was taken at 12:30 a.m. with no flash

Wildlife count for the day: 0

Alaska, Day 1: Anchorage

Anchorage, AK

Friday, July 20, 2012: Our trip begins!

After a long day of flying, including a semi-ridiculous layover in Dallas-Fort Worth, Kurt and I arrived in Anchorage at around 8 p.m. We dropped off our backpacks at the hotel and immediately set out to explore a little bit. Anchorage is the biggest city in Alaska, with its population of 300,000 about roughly half of the entire state. We ate dinner (halibut tacos) and got some beers at Humpy’s Ale House in the downtown area.

After dinner, we walked around a little bit more, already thrown off by the daylight sky still bright well past 10 p.m. Considering it was later than 1 a.m. Chicago time, I was ready to head back to the hotel to go to bed. Our good friends and travel buddies, Bob and Amy, arrived from Houston about an hour or so later, so we called it a night to get some rest for the next big day.