Yukon Alaska Trip 2018 travel blog

Beautiful mountains

Fairbanks to Denali June 5

We left this am about 9:30 for the 2 ½ hour bus ride to Denali. We're staying 3 nights at the McKinley Chalet Resort. The ride was absolutely gorgeous. As we began, we could see the Alaska Range way in the distance and then eventually drove right to it. The mountains are huge. Where we're staying, there are tall, snow capped mountains all around us. Along the way, we stopped in the village of Nenana. They had free coffee, and cinnamon rolls (tomorrow's breakfast) and delicious homemade cookies. There was a gift shop, but we ran out of time. When we arrived, another bus had just arrived before us. The driver couldn't get the luggage doors open so we has to wait while they borrowed a stool. In the meantime, another 4 busses came. So restroom and food lines were long. We went near Anderson, Alaska. It is home to Clear Air Force Station, a ballistic missile early warning system station, where they have been watching for missiles since 1961. The Alaskan Range has 17 of the 20 tallest mountains in North America. Mountains are over 12,000 feet high in several places in this range. Denali is taller from base to top by 6,000 feet more than Mount Everest. Everest is higher in the air as it is 17,000 feet above sea level at the base. Denali’s base is at 2,000 above sea level. The McKinley Chalet Resort is beautiful and huge (once again, owned by Holland America). We have a bedroom and living room. Bathrooms are modern. There is no air conditioning, but not a problem for us. The weather is beautiful. The phone indicated 57, but felt like 70 to 75. It's supposed to storm tonight.. The property is huge They have 483 rooms, mostly located in the cabins. The map shows cabins listed from A to Z. There is a square near the center of the area, with shops, restaurants, bars, an amphitheater, and firepits. There is a free hourly Denali National Park shuttle that goes to the Visitor Center and trailheads. Complimentary on property shuttles operate in a continuous loop. The views are spectacular. A river runs behind out building. Tomorrow, we have a 6 hour Tundra Wilderness Tour, so today we walked around the property and across the highway, where there are numerous shops, restaurants, hotels, and shops. Princess has a big resort right near ours. For dinner, we attended Music of Denali, in Denali Square. This included a family style meal of BBQ Brisket, salmon, salad, fresh biscuits, succotash made with edamame, apple crisp and iced tea and coffee. I especially loved the salmon, succotash and biscuits. The show was good, but not as good as the other night. There was a singer in the Denali Square, and the fire pits were lit. As we walked back to our chalet, the sun was close to going behind the mountain (even though it was not sunset time). Sunrise today was 3:54 and sunset is 12:04.

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