We woke up in our fancy pants hotel in Talkeetna after a phenomenal nights sleep in a warm, dry bed. We had explored a bit of the town (it took a couple minutes to do so) last night, but we wanted to check it out when we felt a bit more fresh so we headed down to town for breakfast.
We got ready and headed out the front door of the “non-view” side of the hotel. Quick detour here. When Christine had booked the room the night before, they had asked if we wanted a view side or non-view side. It was a $50+ difference so we said, non-view and were greeted to a view of rolling hills and green forest. We chuckled that this qualified as non-view. We were about to understand why.
We rounded a corner on our way into town and noticed a bunch of RVs pulled off the side of the road. We wondered why and may have made fun of them…until we rounded the corner and got smacked in the face with a massive view of Denali. Our response to it was pure awe mixed with a “holy shit!” We pulled over as fast as we could and tried to take pictures with our cell phones…which quickly revealed themselves to be incapable of capturing her magic, so we drove back up the hill to our hotel to grab my camera. This is what ensued:
To put into perspective what we were seeing (because the pictures certainly do not), the peak immediately to the left is a 14,000 foot peak and the far left is 17K. This was mid-July and they are completely snow covered. Quite the adjustment from Colorado where 14ers are bone dry this time of year. And we’re a good distance away (50+miles?) as well.
We spent quite a bit of time gawking at the peak but finally decided to head down into Talkeetna for some food. We ventured into the Wildflower Cafe (http://www.talkeetnasuites.com/wildflower-cafe.html) and just best the breakfast cutoff. The shrimp omelet special was out of this world and needs to be in my life more often. After breakfast, we took a little walk around town and stumbled on some fun/touristy places.
After wandering around Talkeetna, we headed back to pack up and make our way towards Anchorage for our last night in Alaska. After packing, we considered driving back to the Denali viewpoint we had passed on the south side of the park, but as we were driving that way we noticed 2 things:
1. It was getting progressively cloudier.
2. It was a lot farther than we remembered.
So a little ways in, we turned around and pointed our car towards Anchorage. I had been driving most of the way, so Christine took over and of course on the way out of town spotted a moose…while driving. I, the passenger, missed it!
The drive back to Anchorage was pretty straightforward, but we did finally hit up one of those espresso shacks in Wasilla…and it was delicious!
Once we got back in Anchorage, we check in at the Hilton (http://www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/alaska/hilton-anchorage-ANCAHHF/index.html) which promptly took great care of us with a few upgrades since it was our honeymoon. I was exhausted so I took a lovely 5 PM nap while Christine venture around Anchorage at a local market of sorts.
As I awakened from my doldrums, we worked out an evening plan to head over to Humpys (http://humpys.com/anc/) which was going to turn out to be an even better choice than we though. We ended up sitting at the bar on open mic night with 30+ beers in front of us (http://humpys.com/anc/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/BEER2010-2.01.pdf). Let’s just say we did alright.
Afterwards we paid a visit to the Snow Goose/Sleeping Lady Brewing Company (http://www.alaskabeers.com) which had just run out of IPA :-(. However, the view was incredible as it overlooked the bay and we had a sunset view of Denali way off in the distance.
Despite the well-lit evening, we headed back to the hotel and fell asleep. Sad that this was our last night on the Last Frontier but content with how we had spent our time.