Finally! After almost 15 hours, a 4+ hour layover, a plane with minimal a/c, and 3,516 hours we made it! We arrived at Fairbanks Int' Airport (all of three gates) at 8pm Alaska time (midnight eastern time). I have to say, it's very odd to have to put sunglasses on while driving to your hotel at almost 9pm.
What could possibly be better after having spent 15+ hours on a plane or in an airport?
Not a lot of time for sleep as we had to be at the train station at 7am the next morning to catch a ride to Denali National Park and Preserve...So what's even more odd than having to wear sunglasses at 9pm...waking up at 1am and it still being light out!!
Tuesday morning we got up bright and early, grabbed quick showers, and called for a cab to bring us to the train station. We checked in and boarded the train and got settled to our seats.
A look down the train car we were in...
Nice and empty! We pretty much had the entire train car to ourselves! Came in handy later for a quick nap! We were out of the hotel earlier than planned and missed breakfast, so once the train got underway we went into the next car and sat down for breakfast. Can't really complain about having breakfast and having a view like this, can ya?
We had a 4 hour train ride ahead of us. It didn't take Jenny long to fall asleep, but I stayed up to take in the views. Here's a couple of shots of the views during the train ride...
Thankfully this sign wasn't accurate!
Do you see the face??
The train conductor suggested the idea of doing some reflection shots, so...
Once we got closer to the Denali Depot we saw some white blips up in the mountain. Can you see them?
With a quick lens change (and some extreme double takes from some other folks taking pictures in the car) those white blips become much easier to see!
Dall Sheep! Though let me tell you, managing to steady a 6lb lens on a bumping train doing 30mph is no easy feat!
Shortly after that we pulled into the Denali Train Depot and took our bus to our hotel. We grabbed a quick bite to eat and then jumped back onto the bus to spend some time hiking through Denali National Park and Preserve.
We struck out on bears and moose, but here are some other wildlife and landscape pictures. A red squirrel to get things started...
Swainson's Thrush (finally!)
View of the mountains just past the Visitor's Center at Denali.
That's it for days 1 and 2!! Up for tomorrow is a full day's tour 85+ miles into Denali in search of bear, caribou, and moose!