I left Fairbanks early in the morning after many goodbye’s. I hopped on the Parks Highway and headed south towards Anchorage. It was a bit cold, but there really wasn’t much wind. The bright sunny, blue skies were a nice treat.
The Parks Highway aka AK 1 isn’t a highway in the sense of highways in the lower 48.
In fact, really none of the roads that bear the name “Highway” are the four-lane divided sort that someone from Minnesota might be used to. They are almost all two lane roads with a speed limit between 55 and 65MPH.
As the Parks Highway leaves Fairbanks it climbs up into the hills and winds its way south along the ridge line. There are great views on either side into the valleys. The East side is the best since it has beautiful snow covered mountains.
I watched those mountains until I got to Denali National Park. Then they were quite close to the road, and the “big one” was directly ahead.
From the moment I saw it, I thought, “Wow, that is a big mountain. It looks good too.” It wasn’t until a few more miles down the road that I realized I had been staring at Denali aka Mt McKinley for so long. From the north I could just make out the top peeking out through the little clouds. The view from the southern viewpoint is best however.
I stopped for a lunch break at the Chatmon rest ( think that was the name anyways).
I followed the road to the back in search of a picnic table to enjoy my tastiness. I found one after crawling over a eight foot snow bank and wading through four feet of snow. I didn’t realize the snow was so deep, until after my third step at which time I sank up to my waist.
That’s when I found out that motorcycle boots and pants work great as snow gear. I didn’t get any snow in my boots! I sunk up to my waist many more times until I made it the 40 feet to the table.
It was in the sun with a great view of two mountains and a little creek. Awesome. Even better, I had the whole place to myself since everyone else stopped at the main area near the road.
I also visited the Alaska Veteran Memorial. It was nice with a great view of the mountains. See the full flickr album for the writing on each sign.
I spent the night with my family in Palmer.
A really beautiful area just north east of Anchorage and surrounded by mountains.
After dinner, we went to Hatcher Pass and got these more shots and video.
a small creek nearby
love the berries in this shot.
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Video: Lunch in Denali State Park