Reluctantly we left the Soldotna area. The red fishing on the Kenai was only going to get better in the next two weeks but we had reservations and plans in Anchorage, Denali and beyond.So off to Anchorage we went, rain was forecasted for the day as well as the next few days to come. The cloud cover was low and true to the forecast it rained all the way to Anchorage. The rain, however, was a welcome sight to the firefighters battling a blaze in the Turnagain Arm area. The road was closed temporarily then open with pilot cars but when we went through we only saw smoke and the vehicles of the firefighters.
|Cloudy, rainy with low cloud cover|
Arriving in Anchorage we went directly to our favorite campground in the area; Cabela’s! We actually got by pretty cheap this time as although we walked the store a couple of time we did not buy anything. I do have my eye on a new pistol however…..Anchorage was going to be a stopover on our way to Talkeetna and Denali. The original plan was to stock up with groceries and do laundry. That changed a few weeks ago when our friends Tom and Shelly from Minnesota said they were going on an Alaskan vacation and were going to be in Anchorage on the 22nd and 23rd! Now add dinner with good friends to our agenda. There were three restaurants that we had considered going to last time we were in town and this time we were determined to hit at least one of them. Emailing Tom, I offered up three restaurants; Moose's Tooth Pub & Pizzeria, Glacier Brewhouse and Orso. He wanted steak or seafood so we made reservations for Orso.
Laundry and grocery shopping done Barb and I headed to Moose's Tooth for a late lunch. We had heard about this restaurant from Barb’s cousin as they are well known for their pizza. She did not lead us astray as the pizza and beer were excellent. I would highly recommend this place!
|The 4 of us at Humpy's|
|This stream followed the road the entire way up|
|An old mine building|
|This roadside pull out offered "Sweeping views" of the valley below. Isn't it beautiful?|
We made it to the visitors center near the top but decided to turn around and take the blacktop back down rather than drive the 27 mile gravel road down the other side of the pass.On the way to Talkeetna we stopped and checked out a few rivers and streams for fishing. Montana Creek had silvers, pink and chum salmon running but the fish were congregated in a very small area and so many fishermen were there that it was nearly impossible to fish them so we just watched for a while and headed back to the truck on our journey to Talkeetna.
We were sidetracked once again when we saw the sign for Denali Brewing Company where we HAD to stop and sample a flight of some their brews!
|Just a few of the many they had to choose from|
We spent the night just outside of Talkeetna at a roadside pull out. Probably the quietest spot we have stayed at in weeks. Not a sound, it was almost too quiet!The town of Talkeetna itself is very cute. It is obviously a tourist town but not to the extent of Skagway where it is over the top touristy. Talkeetna is touristy with a lot of charm. Daisy had a great time walking the town but was somewhat of a camera hog wanting to get her picture taken at every stop throughout the day!
|Daisy the Explorer!|
|Is there a bear behind me?|
|Mush, sled dogs!|
|Wish there was some snow!|
|Queen of the treehouse!|
|General Store in Talkeetna|
That afternoon we spent the day slowly traveling towards Denali stopping at various streams seeing if there was any fishing opportunities. At one in particular we saw both salmon and trout so we got out the flyrods and gave it a try. Soon enough I hooked into the biggest salmon of my life, a 20+# king salmon. It was an epic battle between man and fish. Well not really, although the fish knew it was hooked, it really did not care. It sat in the middle of the river while I tried to reel him to shore. He would not budge! I jumped in the stream and crossed over to a gravel bar and tried to beach him. I would get him close to the bar then with a swish of his tail he was back in the middle. I got him close a couple of more times but back out to the middle he went.
|Got him on, jumped in with shoes and all!|
|Headed over to the gravel bar|
|Trying to ease him onto the gravel bar|
|Just another foot!|
|Then swish, back to the middle!|
|What was left of my hook!|
We spent the night at a rest area at mile marker 185 on the Parks Highway. It was an old campground that allows free camping now complete with picnic tables and fire grates. Gotta love these free sites! In fact since returning from Kodiak we have stayed at free sites every night. All of which (except Rich and Susan’s driveway) would have fit rigs of any size; Fred Myer in Soldotna, 2 nights at a roadside pullout 56 miles outside of Soldotna along the Kenai River, the quiet pullout on the Talkeetna Spur Highway and the wayside rest mentioned above. Saving money on campground just means more money for fishing and breweries along our journey!Next up, a week at Denali National Park!