Day 26 – Maclaren River Lodge to Chugiak, AK

Day 26 – Maclaren River Lodge to Chugiak, AK     09/15/10     Mileage: 253 

Just in case you didn’t know, it’s much easier to get out of bed in a warm hotel room than it is to get out of a warm sleeping bag in an ice cold tent. Dori and I met for breakfast and had some funny conversations with the local hunters, in particular one who went by the nickname Bing. Out on the road, we met up with him and he showed us how to spot moose and caribou….which is much harder than it seems. I’ve been getting a real education on hunting and fishing up here! We passed more stunning vistas of the ever present Alaska Range to the north of the road.  

Alaska Range

 

Dori looking for caribou

 

View from the Denali Highway...

 

Still more Alaska Range...

 

At the end of the Denali Highway, we turned south on the Richardson Highway…Dori to catch the road to Tok, me to catch the road down toward Scott’s house in Chugiak….just north of Anchorage. The scenery did not let up the entire way down to Chugiak, with towering mountains, fast flowing rivers and glaciers…including one that came within a half mile of the road.  

Wrangell Mountains along Rt 1

 

I think this is a "beaver"(?) plane...landing just 10 feet from the road!

 

The Chugach Range

 

Glacier in the Chugach Range...very close to the road!

 

Glacier in the Chugach Range...

 

 Tomorrow will be running errands in Anchorage before setting off for the Kenai Peninsula on Friday.

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Day 25 – Denali National Park, AK to Maclaren River Lodge, AK

Day 25 – Denali National Park, AK to Maclaren River Lodge, AK     09/14/10     Mileage:  160  

After returning last night to camp it was time to plot my next move. Scott had recommended the Denali Highway the week before, which is actually a 135 mile dirt road that connects Denali National Park on the west end with the Richardson Highway to the east. One of my campsite neighbors, Dori, was also traveling that way and had also heard that it was a spectacular drive. We decided to travel the road together, so after a quick stop for coffee, we made our way for the Denali Highway….her in her SUV and me on the KLR. The scenery along the way was amazing, perhaps even better than inside the park itself.  

Mount McKinley from the Denali Highway...

 

The Alaska Range from the Denali Highway

 

Looking towards the Alaska Range

 

Yep, more of the Alaska Range...

 

And another...

 

Around 40 miles up the Denali Highway, we were flagged down by a hitchhiker from Germany. Karen has been on the road for 19 months and has some amazing stories…including rafting down the Yukon on a homemade log raft and hitchhiking all the way up the Dalton Highway to Deadhorse! Apparently I was in Deadhorse only a few days after her…and people think I’m crazy! Anyway, I of course had no room but she hopped in with Dori and we all continued on.  

Dori and her SUV, now with Karen riding shotgun...

 

Crossing the Susitna River with the Alaska Range in the background...

 

The Denali Clearwater Mountains...

 

Nice lake reflection of the Alaska Range...

 

After another 60 miles of desolate dirt road and one breathtaking view after another, we came up to the Maclaren River Lodge. It was a rustic but cute place complete with a heat, a restaurant, flush toilets and…a stocked bar. After two cold nights camping in Denali, that sealed it for me….I was forgoing the tent tonight in favor of a hot meal, a cold beer and a warm room with plumbing.  

Maclaren River Lodge

 

Maclaren River Lodge

 

Unique art pice of a salmon made from beer caps. The winters are very long up here.

 

The Maclaren River and Alaska Range in the background

 

A little after dinner pool....

 

 Dori also got a room and Karen set up her tent just across the road. After dinner and a few beers, it was off to bed…as tomorrow I had a long ride down to Anchorage to see Glenn and Scott.