Did you miss Part 1 of this post? Check it out here!
For reference, this is the map for the second leg of our trip:
After departing our gorgeous RV park in Portage Valley, we trekked back North passing through Anchorage, up to the boarder of Denali National Park to a little town called Talkeetna.
The main reason for stopping in Talkeetna was so that we could hop on a tiny plane and fly through the Denali mountain range in order to land on a glacier. I knew ahead of time that the flight would be extremely weather dependent so I left two full days open in case we weren’t able to fly that first day. When we got there, we were told that all of the mountains were in the clouds and that if we wanted a glacier landing, we were going to have to reschedule our flight for the next morning. Thankfully, the company we flew with, Talkeetna Air Taxi made it extremely simple to change the time and date of our flight. The next morning we were up bright and early and ready to fly by 8:30am! It was just 7 of us in this tiny plane including the pilot.
The mountain range starting to appear in the distance.
Glaciers down below…
I love this shot because you can see the tops of the mountains over the cloud cover, all the way down to the glacier valley, under the clouds. It’s so hard to capture the enormity of these mountains in photographs.
Just some of the many breathtaking views from the plane…
Do you see that tiny little spec of red on the bottom left of this shot? That’s a plane the same size as the one we were in… just to give you some perspective of the enormity of these mountains.
After landing on Ruth Glacier.
I tried to be super cool and do one of those jumping shots. Let’s just say I didn’t really know what I was doing…
Spotted a tiny hut off in the distance which you can apparently stay at over night. Bucket list for sure.
Us and our “glacier boots”.
Watching our reflection after taking off from the glacier… such a crazy experience.
The same glacier we landed on, Ruth Glacier, farther down it’s path. We were told this glacier moves up to 3 feet per day.
Flying back toward Talkeetna.
After landing back in Talkeetna, we hit the road again traveling north to the Denali North Viewpoint. It was cloudy so we couldn’t see many of the mountains but we had the entire spot to ourselves all night.
We decided it was a perfect night to cook our baby back ribs (organic, of course) that we’d picked up form the Fred Meyer while still in Anchorage. 3 hours in the oven and finished on the grill!
After spending the night at Viewpoint North we headed even farther north to the entrance of Denali National Park near Healy, AK.
Denali National Park is only accessible by car for 13 miles. After that, if you want to see the rest of the park you have to hop on a bus which will take you anywhere up to 12 more hours into the park. I read that the first 13 miles were pretty spectacular as is and decided against a bus ride. Once we arrived in Denali last week it started to snow and the visibility was pretty poor, so we were thankful a long wet bus ride wasn’t in the cards. Within the first 5 miles or so, we saw a couple of moose right off the road.
While the weather wasn’t exactly agreeable, it did make for some pretty surreal landscape.
We had a couple of longer hikes planned while in Denali but the weather wasn’t cooperating so we decided to just explore some spots around our campground. We walked down to Savage River and crossed our fingers we wouldn’t run into a bear. 🙂
The next morning, we woke up to a fresh snowfall and more gorgeous views as we left the park.
After the snow fell, the drive back down South was gorgeous.
For our last night we stopped at the Denali Viewpoint South lookout and decided to cook our dinner over an open fire. We found huge stock piles of firewood (newly chopped trees) just outside the campground. Us and the others staying at the park had fun gathering as much as we could and bringing it back to the campground.
Chris and I wrapped an entire head of garlic in tin foil and threw it into the fire.
Garlic and leftover baby back ribs…
Followed by our leftover eggs. I can still taste how delicious this meal was.
Much to our surprise, Denali and the surrounding mountains appeared from their cloud cover on our very last morning. I was pretty upset that we weren’t going to get to see these mountains (except for when we flew), so I was thrilled that the weather cleared up on our last day.
We had some extra time before returning our RV and heard that the Alaska State Fair was going on in Palmer. Since Palmer is only an hour outside of Anchorage, we figured it would be a perfect last stop on our trip.
On our way back to Anchorage to return our RV, we had to stop and capture one of the many, many moose signs on the highway.
And that wraps up Part 2!! Want to know more about why I decided to go to Alaska and the effect it had on me both personally and in terms of appreciating this gorgeous state? Read all about it in Part 1!