Posts Tagged ‘Wasilla’

Rolly Lake & Arrival in Talkeetna 7/31 – 8/2/2009

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

We left Wasilla after staying overnight. We went to camp 2 nights at North Rolly Lake campground in Nancy Lakes State Recreation Area located on Parks highway about 30 miles north of Wasilla and 30 miles south of Talkeetna.

We had a lovely campsite in the woods and right on the lake. The campground was 6 miles in from the parks highway on a recently paved road. All our maps and documentation has the road as gravel.

We paddled the circumference of the lake. It was a non-glacial lake and was clear. It was 1st non-silty lake we had paddled in quite a while. After our morning paddle, we hiked 3 miles from our campsite to Red Shirt Lake. Fred took a nap in the grass there before we headed back to start a campfire.

The weather was partly cloudy and it cleared in the afternoon. It was great to see the sun for a change.


Talkeetna and our initial views of Mt Mckinley

On Sunday 8/2, we headed for Talkeetna hoping we would see Mt McKinley. On any day, there is only a 40% chance of being able to clearly see it. Since the early morning had clear skies, we were hopeful.

When we reached North Willow at milepost 90, we got our first view of the majestic Mt McKinley! It was crystal clear and beautiful!

When we registered at the Talkeetna Campers RV Park, we discovered that the owner had known Fr. Ron Dunfey. He had downed beer with him on many an occassion but didn’t know him very well.

We checked at the ranger station to meet a friend of Fr Ron’s, Roger Robinson, a park ranger who helps climbers plan their accents of Mt. McKinley. Unfortunately, the summer climbing season had ended and Roger was on vacation.

From our fullservice campsite, we took a walk along the Talkeetna River where we found outstanding views of Mt. McKinley. We also walked across an Alaskan Railroad bridge over the river. We viewed some Tour Jetboats going and returning from their trips and witnessed one getting stuck on a sand bar.

The village of Talkeetna is a tourist location with many shops, restaurants and Adventure Trip vendors in a place that was once reserved for climbers. Fr. Ron Dunfey, the Glacier Priest, spent many years here.

Last night, we had beers and listened to Jazz at the Fairview Lodge. This was an old locals hangout pub where we are certain Fr Ron must have spent some time. Then we moved up the street where there was lively bluegrass music. We had more beer and wine with Pizza as we listened to the local musicians. We had a good time!

Tonight at 7 PM, we are booked on a flighseeing trip to fly around Mt. McKinley. We will also land on a glacier there. We are hopeful that we will see the same sights that Charles Kuralt saw when he visited Fr. Ron on a glacier on Mt. McKinley for the national evening news.

The sky is now very blue without a cloud in the sky. We haven’t seen Mt. McKinley this morning as yet. It can have its own weather system. You never know what you are going to see.

Portage Valley – July 29-30, 2009

Friday, July 31st, 2009

We pulled into the Williwaw Campground in Chugach National Park. It was just a good stones throw from Portage Lake. We were able to use Fred’s National Parks Senior Pass to get the Campsite at 50% of normal cost. We also got same break at Russian River!

We caught the last boat tour of the Portage Glacier that left at 4:30 PM 

The weather was rainy and somewhat windy. On the way down to Seward, we had stopped at the Portage Visitor’s Center but skipped kayaking on Portage Lake and the Glacier tour due to the rainy weather and a howling wind.

Two weeks later, we had almost the same weather!

The boat tour of Portage Glacier lasted an hour. Most of the hour was spent right in front of the glacier wall. We hoped  to see parts of the Glacier drop into the water. This didn’t happen when we were there. The sight of the Glacier was quite majestic. The National Parks naturalist on board gave an excellent talk about Glaciers and this particular one.


Back at our campsite, Milly prepared an outstanding chicken dinner while Fred poured over the travel and campground guides trying to figure out where we would spent the next few days. Since it was rainy, we had our wine, appetizers and dinner in the camper. This was followed by a DVD movie and an episode of MASH.

We forgot we had generator going past 10 PM. We also thought we were far enough away from other people that the generator wouldn’t bother people. We were brought back to reality when a neighboring camper rather rudely demanded we shut off our generator. Even nice people like us occassionally screw up!

We arrived on Wednesday evening in Wasilla at the Big Bear RV Park. In Wasilla, before “you can see Russia”, you must first smoke some weed!

Before we left portage Valley, we visited the Alaskan Wildlife Conservation Center. There were Elk, Carabou, Black and Brown Bears, etc. that had been saved. Where possible animals are rehabed for return to the wild. Their habitats at the Center were spacious. This is a must see when and if you are in the Anchorage or Portage area.

We also went to Girkwood but didn’t take the Ski Area Tram to the mountian top. The weather was too cloudy and views would  probably have been blocked.