Alaska's Winter Horizon

Alaska's Winter Horizon

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Saturday, July 17th

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Slept in a little this morning. Decided we should get some breakfast so we didn't have a repeat of yesterday's junk food bonanza. We rode down to the Miner's Market in Healy for breakfast sandwiches. While we were eating, reigning 4 time Iditarod Champion Lance Mackey and his wife came in the store. We congratulated him on his recent win and wished him luck in next year's event. He and wife were both friendly and cordial. This is the equivalent of meeting a NASCAR driver in the South. A winning driver- not just a top 10 finisher! After finishing our food, we made a couple of stops and headed toward Cantwell to check out the Denali Highway. We had heard it was a somewhat rugged 135 mile mostly gravel road. We were a bit unsure about taking a rental car on it. After driving a few miles we decided to continue on and just take our time. Most of the first few miles we drove through taiga or boreal forests. These forests consist mostly of skinny evergreen trees growing closely together. They are the last forests before the tree line ends as you ascend in elevation. As we were climbing, we decided to stop and check out the views. We had barely gotten out of the car before we saw fresh grizzly prints in the soft mud. Greg's hopes for us hiking with him today ended right there! We could already tell being a few miles into the road that we were basically in the middle of nowhere. This proved to be the case for the remainder of the drive. We probably only encountered about 10 other vehicles on the entire road. After experiencing fairly heavy crowds at Denali National Park yesterday, the solitude of Denali Highway was a welcome relief. For the most part, our open views of tundra, an endless number of lakes, and countless mountain vistas were interrupted only by the occasional lodge. We stopped at one, the Alpine Creek Lodge, for a break. Anne took this opportunity to rest a bit in the hammock. The lodge is a work in progress with some finished and unfinished rooms. They have running water and electricity derived from solar and wind power. Everyone there was extremely friendly and treated us as if we were guests in their home , even giving us coffee and cake. Just looking at the view from their driveway, it is easy to see why they were in such a good mood. To find out more about them check out

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