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Eureka! Gold Rush in Alaska

Author: Thomas M
Date of Trip: May 2009

Our next stop was Fairbanks - about 200 miles from Tok and home of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks. It has a great museum there and the campus is absolutely beautiful. The museum is a "must".

Denali - the major reason for this trip (though the history of the gold rush, Jack London, Robert Service notwithstanding). We boarded a observation type train for the park - about two hours or so from Fairbanks. We arrived in somewhat foggy and mildly wet weather and Mount McKinley was not visible. So our plans to take a flight tour was going down the tubes. However, we were assured that the weather in Denali is one of those "wait 30-minutes and it will change". We took the flight and it was perfect!!! On cue, Mount McKinley made its appearance. It is the highest mountain in North America and arguable the highest in the world if you measure it from the base to the top. (Under that criteria, local pride must point out that Mauna Kea in Hawaii is the largest, its base being the bottom of the ocean).

HA gave a 7-hour wildlife tour the next day. We spotted grizzly bears and cubs, goats, moose, caribou, and a wolf who casually walked across a bridge near the bus, and then started rolling in the dirt for a while not more than 3-4 feet from the bus!

The next day before we left Denali, we visited Husky Homestead and Jeff King, three-time winner of the Iditarod (he came in second last year), got a chance to hold puppies, see their training and he talked about the race and is a tour that I sort of dismissed but found it absolutely fascinating. Recommend it highly!

I hate to put down Anchorage but after our trip to Denali, everything is anticlimatical!

Aloha from Hawaii.

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