Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Alaska Weather - Denali Flightseeing

They say if you don't like the weather in Alaska, give it an hour . . . or drive about an hour in some other direction. Wednesday in Talkeetna was a good example. K2 (our tour provider/flight company) had high expectations of being able to get out if the fog around the town airport cleared, so we were told to come on down around 10:45am. Sure enough by 11:20 we were off! There were seven other guests in our group aboard the deHavilland Otter airplane (which seats a max of 11 including the pilot).

Actually we did see a 15 or 20 minute glimpse of "The Mountain" (Mt. Denali aka Mt. McKinley) from our room at the lodge. There was still some significant clouds but you could clearly see the peak. It was spectacular.

Our K2 flight-seeing trip has a bit of a detour once up in the air due to clouds throughout the area, to include the pass necessary to access the glacier scheduled for our landing inside Denali National Park. We were told it would be a 50/50 possibility.

As you can see . . . we did have the breathtaking experience of a glacial landing (and take-off!) on the Eldridge Glacier which is inside the park. From around 8,000 to 10,000 ft. altitude, the views were amazing, including peaks, glaciers and the vast tundra landscape. At no time did either of us feel queasy or concerned for our safety. I cannot say enough good about the folks at K2 including Deborah, Stephanie and our pilot Tony.

After a final drive through of Talkeetna, we headed south for Palmer and the AK State Fair. We did stop at the Iditarod Headquarters in Wasilla and enjoyed their preview video for the 2009 race (which Lance Mackey won . . . his third consecutive which he has extended now to four with another win in 2010. Pretty amazing in a sport with so many outstanding teams and kennels competing).

We had an RV campsite at the State Fairgrounds in Palmer which was very convenient. (Tracy if you're reading, it was a wide open field with great in/out access. No worries for David with the beast.)

Dinner was had at the fair and then we headed over to the farm exhibit building. There was the most amazing thing we witnessed there. A litter of six piglets had been born earlier in the week. One little black piggie was on its side, eyes sorta rolled back in its head . . . I really thought it was dead. Two of the litter mates, and later a third, were pushing the little guy with their snouts, rather aggressively at times. After about two or three minutes, the unresponsive piglet jumped up fully revived and able to walk about. It was a miracle of nature witnessed.

The main reason to go to the Alaska State Fair, since most are about the same, is the gigantic vegetables and other produce grown in the land of the midnight sun. While their growing season is short (probably about 12-14 weeks) plants thrive with the continual sunlight for much of the summer.

This year's pumpkin was a State Record at 1,101 lbs. Take a look at some of the other blue ribbon winners, including a 19.6 lb. turnip and 93.9 lb cabbage. Now that is a lot of sauerkraut!
It was really a great afternoon and early evening in Palmer; tee-shirt weather in fact. As the clouds moved in, however, you could feel the temperature drop. With rain seen off in the distance, we didn't quite make it back to our RV before the heavy rains arrived. We were both drenched.


  1. Oh that sounds so wonderful! Glad you are having a great time!

  2. Love the piglet story, animals are just amazing.

  3. Glad you got to do the flightseeing around Mt McKinley. When I did it, the pilot said that if cut off at the base of the mountain and placed side by side, McKinley is taller than Everest!

    No dinner with the Palins in Wasilla?? :)