Sweeping Views of Denali
"The mountain is out today!", my dad and I kept hearing from cheery Alaskans on board the Alaska Railroad, as we made our way from Anchorage up to Talkeetna on a crisp May day. Prior to my visit to Alaska, I didn't know that locals referred to Mount McKinley as Denali; and though I knew that Denali was North America's highest peak, I had no idea that it towered at a massive 20,237 feet, close to 1,000 feet taller than Africa's Mount Kilimanjaro. I also wasn't aware of just how elusive Denali is, with only about 30% of visitors getting to see the mountain on a clear day, such was the one that we visited upon. The views of the snow-covered giant were astounding upon the Railroad, as we wound through forests of birch trees alongside fast-moving mountain streams. Upon our arrival to Talkeetna, we checked into the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, an elegant mountain retreat with 3-story windows and a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace in the lobby, as well as several layers of outdoor decks with rocking chairs to sit, relax, and enjoy this view. This photo captures the view from our room, so with a postcard panorama like this, we spent most of our time at the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge taking in the majesty of the mountain.
By Ashley Castle Pittman, AFAR Contributor
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23601 Talkeetna Spur Rd, Talkeetna, AK 99676, USA