Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tuesday, June 26: It’s 46⁰ and pouring rain as we pull out of Denali RV Park—this is the sub-Arctic desert? Miles of scant spruces and permafrost, foggy conditions and continuous rain, and then a black mountain with streaks of white comes looming out of the fog. We’re following the Nenana River (“na” means water in Athabascan) through the mountains now, and it looks really high. I’m not sure how long it’s been raining here, but this should mean the end of the scant snow pack we saw in Denali yesterday. We turn off on a spur road that deadends in Talkeetna—where the Talkeetna, Susitna and Chulitna rivers merge (see the nas?). This was a summer fishing camp for natives, and then a trading site for trappers and miners. The historic Nagley’s General Store (since 1921) still takes gold and furs for cash or trade; we stop there for a few groceries--they also take cash! Then the sun peeks out for a little while and we have a bite of lunch in the town square.(As we stroll through town, there are painted mooses in front of a lot of the businesses and historical sites; they will be judged on July 4, then auctioned.) When coal was discovered near here the railroad was extended from Anchorage to Fairbanks through here; we take a walk on a railway bridge over the swollen river. Now Talkeetna is the kick-off point for all those intending to climb Denali. We see we are in the Mat-Su Borough (Matanuska-Susitna); Alaska has boroughs instead of counties. The Emmons have already arrived at the Big Bear RV Park and cabins (yippee) in Palmer, and we barbeque chicken and snack on smoked salmon and brie from Negley's while we wait for dinner. Lovely sunny evening! We spend some time planning our stops till 4th of July in Anchorage, then turn in in our cozy cabin. Life is good.

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