June 23—We slept in today since we were just going to do some of the free things in Denali. We walked over to Subway to get our lunch then got on the 12pm shuttle to Denali, getting off at the Visitor’s Center. We ate our sandwiches, then checked out the restaurant there (we didn’t know they had one or we could have eaten there, although one meal was about the same price as our 3 sandwiches). They had the normal burgers, fish and chips, soup in a bread bowl (that looked really good) that you find at any counter service restaurant. After that we went on a shuttle to the sled dog demonstration. We walked around and petted the dogs, then watched a demonstration, which was very nice. They told us what the dogs do for work, which during the winter they are very busy taking rangers out to some of the remote parts of the parks, taking supplies, rescues (the park isn’t closed in the winter). It was very informative and fun to see the dogs work. We were able to stand on the sled for pictures with the dogs still hitched (although mostly they were laying down—they did NOT like the heat today!). It was quite odd that it was really warm today, but no humidity so it was very pleasant. We also watched some movies on Denali in the Visitor’s Center and Access Center before we took the inner park shuttle to the Post Office so we could send a post card with the park cancellation on it. The Riley Creek Mercantile was also in that area, so we were going to check it out, but as we got off the bus someone said to be careful because there was a moose just past the bus stop. So—we had to go get some pictures. That was really cool!
From there we returned to the lodge, dropped our stuff in our room and walked across the street for dinner. It was so hot we weren’t too hungry but DH wanted soup so back to Subway where we had soup and split a 6” sub. We did some souvenir shopping, stopped for ice cream and came back to the lodge. I wanted to get the laundry done since there are no laundry facilities on our ship, so we started that, which was the best part of our room as this was in the building just across from our room. My laundry room at home I think is further away than this was, so that was nice. I tried to work. But my air card decided it didn’t want to work at all, so I had to walk to the main lodge building to get internet. This is where the long days came in handy since it’s midnight—and still light out! Otherwise the walk from our room to the main lodge might have been creepy in the dark. Tomorrow, we head back to Anchorage.
June 24—We had our luggage outside the door by 8am for them to take it to the train. This has been nice as we haven’t had to handle our luggage much at all this trip. We walked across the street for breakfast at Salmon Bake. Not the best breakfast—they do dinner good, but won’t do breakfast there again. Did like reindeer sausage, though.
We took the 11am shuttle to the Denali Visitor’s Center, which is just across the street from the train station, so checked in there and waited for the train. We had our normal Goldstar car for the 8 hour trip back to Anchorage. We ate lunch in the dining car—I had the pot roast again, about twice as much meat as last time, DH had ribs which were very good, and DD wasn’t hungry so she just had the kids mac n cheese. We saw moose again this trip plus trumpeter swans. We got to Anchorage about 8pm and called for the shuttle from the Sheraton. Nice hotel, but not sure about the area so didn’t want to walk too far for dinner, so just walked across the street to a Country Kitchen. What a great time! We had the manager, Marci, coming by frequently and giving DH a hard time. She ended up talking with us quite a while, then brought us some t-shirts celebrating their 10 years in Anchorage. Nice momento and great memories for a fun meal. Went back to the room and worked awhile on very slow internet (which seems to be the normal speed I’m getting up here!) then went to bed. Wonderful bed—could have spent a long time there! In fact, it was so comfortable we slept through a 4.0 earthquake!
You can see pictures from the trip at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/39149726@N08/sets/