After a leisurely breakfast, we left Denali around 9 o'clock and headed south on the Parks Highway. One might think the highway is named for Denali National Park and Denali State Park, both of which it passes, but it was actually named for George Parks, the territorial governor in the late 1920's. It is a nice scenic road; south of Denali, it roughly parallels the Nenana River and lots of fireweed was still flourishing on the roadside. It was too cloudy to see much of the mountaintops. A little south of Cantwell, the road follows the Chulitna River and enters Denali State Park. There are some nice overlooks and we stopped at one for a break and a Foxy walk.
We soon reached our destination for the next two nights, Trapper Creek RV Park, in the town of Trapper Creek. Our Alfa traveling friends had pulled in ahead of us from Cantwell and we thought they were staying here too; but, they weren't wild about the place and were still making up their minds. We got set up and they decided to stay here too.
Trapper Creek is about halfway between Anchorage and Denali National Park; although, a stop here puts us much closer to Mount McKinley, distance-wise. The town is just across the Chulitna River from Talkeetna and that's where we headed because it is Moose Dropping Festival this weekend. No, they don't drop moose from anything; the festival is all about droppings from moose. Town was really festive with tents, craft sellers, musicians, food, and lots of people just wandering around Main Street. The moose dropping contest features the throwing of moose droppings or moose nuggets (they told us they were mostly sawdust) and the winners split the money pot.
We had supper at Mountain High Pizza Pie and the pizza was really good. Talkeetna is a truly unique little town full of historic buildings. I read it got its name from the three rivers that meet here, the Talkeetna, Chulitna, and Susitna rivers. Talkeetna is an Indian word meaning 'where rivers meet'. Its history can be traced back to a trading post and gold rush town, a riverboat landing for gold miners, and a hub during construction of the Alaska Railroad. Many of the buildings, which have been carefully preserved, are on the National Register of Historic Places. The town is home to many artists and they sell their goods in these quaint little stores. Eclectic collections of arts and crafts stocked the shelves in every little shop I wandered into. Main Street was full of life today with visitors of all ages out celebrating in the carnival-like atmosphere. We'd like to go back when it's not so crowded.
We settled in for the evening and I was just about to get in the shower when Dan knocked on the door andd told us 'the mountain was out' and they were going to see it if we wanted to tag along. We did, and sure enough, there was the 'high one' exposed for all the world to see. We drove up Petersville Road a few miles, trespassed a little at a B & B and shot a few photographs. Dan & Jenny dropped us back at the campground as Joe was overdue for his insulin shot and they went off in search of more views. Thanks Dan & Jenny!!