Wandering Around America one state at a time – Alaska

State 2:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride! I will be featuring the states alphabetically and next up is

Alaska

Alaska became the 49th state on January 3, 1959. The capital is Juneau and it is the only state capital that can only be reached by air, boat, or birth. The largest city is Anchorage.

We spent 50 glorious nights in Alaska in the summer of 2013.

I loved meeting so many wonderful Alaskans and hearing their stories. Wildlife, glaciers, boat trips, a flight seeing tour, eagles, halibut fishing, Denali National Park, taking the RV on the Alaska Ferry from Skagway to Haines, and a train ride on the Alaska Railroad are just a few of the amazing things we experienced while we were there. Our favorite place was Haines. The most exciting thing we did was take a flight-seeing tour from Talkeetna to see Mt. McKinley and land on Ruth Glacier. The farthest north we went was Coldfoot, north of the Arctic Circle.

Every day was memorable, every day was special, every day we saw something spectacular. Was it worth driving over 14,000 there and back? Absolutely!

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama

Stubbs the Cat, Mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska

We met Stubbs, the cat who is the mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska, when we were browsing in one of the shops in Talkeetna in July, 2013. Stubbs was adapted by the manager of Nagley’s General Store in 1997 and has served as honorary Mayor for 16 years.

Stubbs lives at Nagley's Store in downtown Talkeetna, Alaska
Stubbs lives at Nagley’s Store in downtown Talkeetna, Alaska

Stubbs is now recovering from a dog attack that occurred on August 31. We found out about the attack by accident when Henry came across an article in the Wall Street Journal from October 15 about Stubbs.

After the attack Stubbs spent nine days in a veterinary hospital and is now recuperating in a room above the general store. People from all over the world have donated money to help pay for his hospital bills.

After reading the article in the Wall Street Journal, I did a search and found other articles about the attack in USA Today, Time and the Anchorage Daily News. Here’s links to those articles.

Wall Street Journal: Mayor of Alaskan Town is a Cat

USA Today: Honorary Cat Mayor of Alaska Town Grabs Hearts Globally

Time: Alaska Town’s Cat Mayor Attacked by Dog

Anchorage Daily News: Dog Attack Returns Talkeetna’s Cat Mayor to National Spotlight

Stubbs also has his own Facebook Page: StubbsMayorCat

Favorite Alaska Memories

Although we left Tok, Alaska almost a month ago, our memories of Alaska will never leave us. Here, in no particular order, are a few photos of some of our favorite places and adventures.

Our favorite place was Oceanside RV Park in Haines, Alaska where we could sit and watch for whales, watch eagles fly by, and watch the ferries and cruise ships sail by.

Cocktail hour whale watching with Ted and Ruthy
Cocktail hour whale watching with Ted and Ruthy
Bald Eagle at Chilcoot Lake State Park, Haines, AK
Bald Eagle at Chilcoot Lake State Park, Haines, AK
Deadliest Catch!
Deadliest Catch!

The most exciting and most memorable experience of the entire trip was the South Face McKinley flight-seeing tour and landing on Ruth Glacier with Talkeetna Air Taxi.

We went really close to Mt. McKinley
We went really close to Mt. McKinley
Loving every minute of our time on Ruth glacier
Loving every minute of our time on Ruth glacier

We loved all of the boat trips we took.

Whale Pectoral Fin on day trip to Juneau
Whale Pectoral Fin on day trip to Juneau
Stellar Sea Lions on day trip to Juneau
Stellar Sea Lions on day trip to Juneau
Seeing ice calving on Aialik Glacier on the Kenai Fjords trip from Seward
Seeing ice calving on Aialik Glacier on the Kenai Fjords trip from Seward
A pair of Orcas on Columbia Glacier tour from Valdez
A pair of Orcas on Columbia Glacier tour from Valdez
Sea Otters on Columbia Glacier tour from Valdez
Sea Otters on Columbia Glacier tour from Valdez

Driving to the Coldfoot, sixty miles north of the Artic Circle was a drive to remember.

Wandering Dawgs at the Arctic Circle
Wandering Dawgs at the Arctic Circle

Catching Halibut and watching the sunset in Ninilchik, Alaska.

Four of these fish are ours!
Four of these fish are ours!
Mount Redoubt Sunset
Mount Redoubt Sunset

Denali National Park.

Moose beside the road on the way out of the park
Moose beside the road on the way out of the park
Lukor liked it on top of his house
Lukor liked it on top of his house
Beautiful green valley at Polychrome Overlook
Beautiful green valley at Polychrome Overlook
Another group of Caribou up on a ridge
Another group of Caribou up on a ridge

Driving the Top of the World Highway, panning for gold, going for a train ride on the Alaska Railroad, watching for wildlife on the side of the road, seeing the Fireweed blooming everywhere, seeing glaciers off in the distance and up close are all highlights of the trip we will never forget.

Every day was memorable, every day was special, every day we saw something spectacular.

Day 58: Flightseeing trip to Mt. McKinley

Day 58: Friday, July 12, 2013

We woke up to beautiful sunny skies. The weather forecast was sunny and warm all day. A perfect day for viewing Mt. McKinley.

We started the day by walking to beautiful downtown Talkeetna.

Next we stopped by Talkeetna Air Taxi at the airport to book a flight-seeing tour with a glacier landing. The first flight available was at 4:00 so we returned to the RV park to get the truck and drve to the Talkeetna overlook for a view of Mt. McKinley with no clouds.

At 3:30 a van picked us up to take us to the airport for our flight. There were six passengers on our plane – two guys and a gal from Norway, a man from Maryland, and us. Our pilot Alex was from Georgia.

The flight was one of the most amazing things I have ever done. Seeing the mountains from the air and flying so close to the south face of Mt. McKinley was awe inspiring. It’s a day I will never forget.

Ours was the only plane on the glacier and we had plenty of time to enjoy the jaw dropping beauty around us.

We flew low over the glacier as we started our return trip to the airport.

What a glorious day it was! A day we will never forget. Perfect.

Day 57: Searching for Mt. McKinley

Day 57: Thursday, July 11, 2013 Teklanika Campground to Talkeetna, Alaska. Talkeetna Camper Park Site 34. 182 miles traveled.

The sky was still overcast as we drove the 30 miles from Teklanika to the Denali National Park exit. Our chances for a clear view of Mt. McKinley on our drive south on the Parks Highway were looking pretty slim. Mt. McKinley, at 20,320 feet tall, is the tallest mountain in North America. On a clear day there are overlooks along the highway between Denali National Park and Talkeetna where the mountain can be seen. We were keeping our fingers crossed the sky would clear.

The views were spectacular as we drove along.

Our first view of Mt. McKinley from a Parks Highway overlook
Our first view of Mt. McKinley from a Parks Highway overlook

Then finally, parts of Mt. Mckinley came into view at one of the overlooks.

Stops at a couple of other overlooks were disappointing with clouds completely covering the mountain. Finally, as we drove into Talkeetna, we were rewarded with spectacular views from the Talkeetna overlook.

Happy happy happy! We checked into our campground and watched the Alaska Railroad trains load and unload passengers right behind our campsite.

We enjoyed a great dinner on the outside patio at the West Rib Cafe and Pub which was featured on an episode of The Travel Channel’s Man vs Food. An Alaskan Crabcake sandwich for me and Halibut and Chips for Henry hit the spot.