Thursday, August 18, 2016
On our final morning at the Talkeetna Lodge, we walked one of several trails on the property. We kept our eyes open for moose as one had been seen on the property in the last few days. Although Mark kept watching and listening, we didn’t see any, nor did we see any bear.
This particular trail could be called “the mushroom meander.” There was plenty of other foliage, trees, shrubs and flowers, but there was an abundance of mushrooms of several varieties. When we get back home, I’ll try to identify as many as I can. By the way, do you know the difference between mushrooms and toadstools? I didn’t either, so I looked it up. You can find anything on line. There isn’t any scientific difference, but people often used the term “toadstool” to describe a poisonous or otherwise inedible mushroom. Now you know!
We boarded the McKinley Explorer Train to head to our next destination, the Denali Princess Wildnerness Lodge, located about 150 miles from Talkeetna. This train line is owned by Holland America and Princess Cruise Lines.
The cars are domed with clear glass, enabling us to view the beautiful countryside during our four hour journey, part way along the Susitna River, part way along the Chulitna, and partway along the Nenana. Any word that ends with “na” refers to a body of water. In addition, we could step outside onto the landings at the ends of the cars to get up close to nature. It was a bit chilly for that, but worth it for some of the photo opportunities.
Besides the McKinley Express, there is The Hurricane Turn, a flag-stop train that picks up riders along the way. If you want the train to stop, put out a white flag, and it will pick you up. Ride as far as you need for $1.50 per mile. It runs from Talkeetna to Hurricane Gulch, which we crossed during our journey.
Tomorrow, we’ll be up super early for an exciting flight to the Arctic Circle. Just need to locate my warm clothes.