The Alaska Vibe

Milepost 6-23-14   Denali Park, Alaska

We have been at Denali for a few days now and are enjoying the international flavor of the tourist scene.  Not only are the tourists from every place you can imagine, so are the seasonal workers.  We are camped right behind the ice cream shop where several Bulgarians are working this summer.  It’s one store in a long line-up of services offered along the boardwalk, from souvenirs to adventure trips to salmon bakes and pizza.

My daughter has worked 9 years as a barista and manager at the Black Bear Coffee House on the boardwalk at Denali.
My daughter has worked for 9 years as a barista and manager at the Black Bear Coffee House on the boardwalk at Denali.
Scott and Wendi own Denali Adventure Tours and supply the tourists with adventure trips from whitewater rafting to fly-overs of McKinley.
Scott and Wendi own Denali Adventure Tours and supply the tourists with adventure trips from whitewater rafting to fly-overs of McKinley.

Any day on the boardwalk or the campground we may hear an assortment of languages spoken, from German to Japanese to Russian.

Not only are the inhabitants of this community a very diverse bunch, so are the sights and surroundings of the area.

This morning I went for a bike ride through the canyon where the whitewater rafters and kayakers venture, while on the high bluff above a train went by loaded with sightseers, and a helicopter took off to fly over the ridge to a glacier landing in the next valley.

Bikers, kayakers, bus and train and plane sightseers may all be seen in the same panorama.
I biked through the canyon of the Nenana River where the whitewater rafters do their stuff.

It is a delightfully eclectic mix of sights and scenes here, that makes every day interesting in its own way.  It is very much unlike our environment in Michigan.  Even the wildlife is foreign to us.  We haven’t seen a whitetail deer in months, but yesterday were up close and personal to the caribou in the Denali high country.  Weird.

The hiking trails in the area offer close-up encounters with caribou, mountain sheep, moose, bears and more.
The hiking trails in the area offer close-up encounters with caribou, mountain sheep, moose, bears and more.

Summer solstice was a new experience for us, with a beautiful sunset after midnight that didn’t turn into nighttime…  the sun skimmed along sidewise just behind the mountain ridge and then came back up at around 3 am!

Nighttime never came at our little town at Denali on summer solstice.
Nighttime never came at our little town at Denali on summer solstice.

Every morning when I wake up I have to remind myself where I am… or just look out a window and let the mountains above the RV park do it for me.

I finally got to photograph Mt. McKinley yesterday – from 75 miles away with a telephoto lens!  I’m hoping to get closer on a flight-seeing trip sometime in the next few weeks.

Mt. McKinley (Denali) from a distance of 75 miles on the Parks Road.
Mt. McKinley (Denali) from a distance of 75 miles on the Parks Road.

So the Alaska vibe is a very eclectic one.  I’d say that if variety is the spice of life, the flavor of Denali is seasoned to perfection.  Great fun!

2 thoughts on “The Alaska Vibe”

  1. Not sure if still there or not but we went to a dinner theatre near some hotel complex. It was wonderful entertainment as well as good food. Glad you made it. We loved Denali – camped in the Denali National Park. I had trouble sleeping too with the lack of dark.

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