Hali in Denali

      4 Comments on Hali in Denali

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. ~John Muir

Rock On!

Anyone know the difference between a reindeer and a caribou? Well, keep reading and you’ll find out!

I last left off at our landing in Seward, an inlet on the Kenai Peninsula. We stayed at a lodge tucked in the woods, a few miles out of town. Summoning a Lyft ride didn’t work the first time, so we poked around town a little longer, and tried again 30 minutes later. Success! When Matthew showed up, we learned he is the only Lyft and Uber driver in Seward. We needed to make friends fast, if we were going to get back and forth to town.

Immediately we noticed there was an adjustment needed for our eating patterns. On the cruise, it was breakfast in bed, then “2nd breakfast” in the buffet… lunches with dessert conclusions, and, dinners with multiple courses. All needed to be paired down once we were on our own. Maybe being outside of town is a good thing.


Seward captures the essence of Alaska. As such, Seward refers to itself as the Start of Alaska: there’s Mile Post 0 of the Iditarod Trail, Seward was the main railroad route to the interior (1915), and gateway to Kenai Fjords. In Seward we see changing leaves and Fall colors, which we weren’t anticipating.


We had a brief one nighter in Anchorage, and scoped out the local brewery, Midnight Sun. We learned that of the 730,000 inhabitants of Alaska, about 1/3 of that population is in Anchorage. Alaska, a state twice the size of Texas in area, falls way short of a million people living here. The Last Frontier.

After a breakfast at a local, popular breakfast joint, Snow City Cafe, we headed north 250 miles to Denali.

Denali (formerly known as Mt. McKinley)

Imagine, six million acres of wild land, bisected by one ribbon of road, sweeping views of tundra, mountains and eclipsing in North America’s tallest peak. That’s Denali. It was evident the tourist season was wrapping up: we caught the last bus of the season, the last lodge guests of the season, the last dog sled demo of the season.

Subway – Closed for Season!?

In an effort to limit the number of humans – and therefore reduce the impact on the environment – Denali National Park limits the daily number of people and cars. Buses take visitors up to 50 miles inside the park, bus drivers are expert at spotting wildlife and quick to stop so we can all see.

Off-Season for these guys is the Summer


Talkeetna is the launch pad for those brave, thrill-seekers who want to climb Denali. There are about 1000 climbers a year. Roughly 400 make it to the summit during the short two month climbing season. Us?, we stayed in a comfortable cabin. No indoor plumbing, but clean showers and toilets were a short walk away.

Thanks for following Hail in Denali on her Alaskan safari. OH, and, the difference between a caribou and a reindeer?…. They are actually the same species, but caribou are a free ranging beast, where reindeer are domesticated.

And that’s our walk with nature.

About Hali & Woody

We are a couple who took the first steps toward a life of traveling in May, 2015. Staying within the continental US to accommodate our aging dog, we amp’d up the adventure factor by traveling in a VW Vanagon, circa 1985. Our mission is to share irresistible and compelling stories conceived from this life of travel.

4 thoughts on “Hali in Denali

  1. Sharyn Smith

    Awfully glad that I had to zoom in to see that grizzly! Thanks for all the pictures and details, I’m interested in that cruise for Mark and me, now. Curious about those working sled dogs — if they were friendly or confused that you were treating them like a person. You’re a good writer!

    1. Hali

      Those distant beasts are “moving, little dots” until we zoom in. Still, it’s fun to cross “grizzly” off the list. As for the dogs, I think they would get more confused if the tourists started treating them like dogs!


We enjoy hearing from you! Leave a comment here:

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.