The drive was long but scenic. We all took turns driving whenever someone got tired. We got to Denali just after lunchtime, so after getting our fursuit pics and exploring the Visitor's Center which we missed on the first go-around, we headed into "town" for tasty reindeer and buffalo sausage. It was then a long drive back to Anchorage. Dinner was at a family restaurant within walking distance of the hotel that had a VERY distinctive Alaska theme.
The next day we decided on another roadtrip to the eastern part of the state. I had heard that the highway to Valdez was very scenic. It was! I was surprised to see the Matanuska Glacier which spills out of the mountains right at highway level. The road spends a lot of time going across the tundra with stunted vegetation. Once again we were treated to vegetation that was in near-full Fall colors. From the little town of Glenallen the road swings south towards Valdez. I hadn't realized that we were so close to Wrangell-St Elias National Park, but we had no time to explore. We thought about fursuiting the sign, but since we weren't actually visiting the park, I thought it would be cheating.
A place we did fursuit, however, was the Alaska Pipeline! At one place the pipeline gets very close to the highway. We weren't sure if we would get shot as terrorists if we approached the pipe, but when we saw an interpretive sign right next to the pipeline that had a history of the pipeline and descriptions of Alaskan wildlife, we knew that the public was actually encouraged to be there. We got our pics and proceed on. I was SO tempted to climb on top of the pipe in suit and "ride" it Slim Pickens style. *grins*
The highway passes the Worthington Glacier where we stopped for some pics (non-suiting although we should have). Supposedly Steven Segal filmed "On Deadly Ground" in the area. Makes me wanna run out and rent it! Not! The highway then proceeds down into a steep narrow canyon with waterfalls everywhere.
Valdez was a relatively small town. We saw the oil terminal at a distance. We toured the site of the original town which was wiped off the map in the '64 quake. We ate tasty fish at a local diner. It was then time to head on back to Anchorage. We got back just before 10p. We had successfully avoided fast food for the entire trip. Exhaustion and the late hour forced us to hit the Wendy's next to the hotel. It was a good thing that we would be able to sleep in the next day.
I think this makes national park #10 that I have suited.
Another park sign which had cute bears on it
The Fall colors of Denali. Note the crappy weather.
More Fall colors
The Matanuska Glacier
Fall colors on the way to Valdez
The Trans-Alaskan Pipeline
Holding up the Pipeline
Still more intense Fall colors
The Worthington Glacier