Fairbanks to Denali

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June 15th 2013
Published: June 16th 2013
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This morning we woke up after a MUCH better night's sleep than the previous night and made it in plenty of time for breakfast. Marnie, our B&B owner, and her husband are selling the bed and breakfast and plan to move to California for their retirement and be near their daughter. We learned a lot about utilities in Alaska over the breakfast conversation. Electricity, heating fuel, and water are all expensive in Alaska. Their standard electric bill is hundreds more than ours is in even the middle of summer when we have the A/C cranked. Yikes!

After breakfast we settled up our account and hit the road. A few miles north of Fairbanks is a section of the Alaskan Pipeline that's above ground and has a parking lot for visitor's to park and see it. It was pretty impressive...I had no idea it was so big!

After some pictures at the pipeline we headed south to Denali National Park. It was about 120 miles but took us several hours because we stopped several times to take pictures. We saw our first moose at about milepost 305 and saw two more after that. Matt was pretty pumped 😊 We got to our hotel, Denali Bluffs, around 3:00 and got checked in and settled. After that we headed over to the Wilderness Access Center (WAC) to see about taking a shuttle into the park in the morning. There's a road that runs into the park and is paved for the first 15 miles. Private vehicles are allowed to the end of the paved portion. The road runs for an additional 77 miles after that and has limited access, generally to private tours and park shuttle buses. We booked a shuttle for 5:15 in the morning to take us almost to the end. We'll be stopping about 7 miles from the end of the road at Wonder Lake. The bus should drop us off around 11:00 and we're going to hike around the lake and the visitor's center until the final bus out of the park comes through around 4:45. That will get us back between 10 and 11 pm, so we're looking at a really long day! Once we got our tickets purchased for the morning we decided to drive that 15 miles to the end of the public road and see what we could see. We didn't see any wildlife but we were able to hike around near the parking area and took some great pictures. Matt had me traipsing through a stream (called Savage River...I'm sure it's much more savage when the water level is higher lol) and boy was that water cold!

After we walked around a little bit we headed back into town to get food for the next day. We opted for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on our hike and picked up some pastries for breakfast on the bus. After the grocery shopping was finished we headed over to the restaurant on the hotel property for some dinner and went back to the room for an early night since we were going to have such an early morning. I can't wait to post the pictures that we've taken so far! Internet here in Denali is touch and go so I have no idea when that will be but hang in there...


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