While chilling out with my Sunday’s creation, Bloody Sunday Sparkling Guava Nectar, I skimmed through Wager with the Wind: the Don Sheldon Story that my husband bought me and insisted that I read. It’s the story of Alaska’s legendary bush pilot, Don Sheldon, who pioneered glacier landings around Mt. McKinley and was based out of Talkeetna.
Then I realized that I still haven’t written the next chapter of my Alaska travelogue ‘Everything under the Alaskan Sun’ which happens to be about my trip to Talkeetna. (Sorry I have a short attention span. My European Delivery travelogue is also making zero progress :P)
So here it is…
Everything under the Alaskan Sun
Wager with the Wind: a Day in Talkeetna
Driving from Fairbanks to Talkeeta takes about 5 hours. But I didn’t get bored. As one of Alaska’s Scenic Byways, the George Parks Highway offers spectacular scenery for road travelers.
Welcome to beautiful Downtown Talkeetna! And beautiful it was.
Our first stop was at the legendary Sheldon Air Service which was totally dead since it was a very cloudy and rainy day. All flight activities to Mt. McKinley were cancelled.
Fortunately, our Talkeetna River rafting trip wasn’t cancelled.
Talkeetna River Guides
Talkeetna means ‘where the rivers join’. (These rivers are the Talkeetna, the Chulitna and the Susitna Rivers.)
It was an effortlessly pleasant scenic float. (Almost to the point of feeling bored. You just float along as your guide paddles for you.) Talkeetna is in fact a mecca for thrill-seekers. You can do anything from Mt. McKinley climbing, flightseeing, glacier landing, ziplining, whitewater rafting to jet-boating. And this scenic float has to be the most laid-back activity of all.
Did I mention that we were ‘attacked’ by animals? Very dangerous animals they were. The Alaskan mosquitoes…
Back in the village, Main Street is full of cute gift shops and restaurants.
A Travelers Tripod
A historic inn
And all sorts of food to choose from
However, we were determined to eat at the historic Talkeetna Roadhouse where miners and trappers of the early days stopped by and where Don Sheldon and Mt. McKinley climbers used to hang out. The Roadhouse is famous for its breakfast menu and is open until 8pm.
I ordered this interesting dish: a traditional miner’s pastie. In the old days, housewives would make these pasties, stuffing one end with meat and the other with a sweet filling. A convenient way to have dessert with the meal! (I couldn’t find any sweet filling in this pastie though.) Another interesting fact is that the thick-crimped crust was not to be eaten, but to be left for the ghosts that lived inside the mines! Superstition or science, it was a smart choice since miner’s hands could be contaminated with poisonous materials, and eating the pastie edges that they had touched could be dangerous.
Forget-me-not is the state flower of Alaska. But ironically, it wasn’t easy to find in Alaska at all. During the 2 weeks, I had seen forget-me-nots only once. Yes, once. Right here in this charming little town of Talkeetna.
They are tiny but absolutely cute and lovely. Just like the town of Talkeetna where they were found.