Posted on September 27, 2012
Time keeps flying by faster and faster. September is almost over, and I have hardly had any time to share the latest and greatest news from the Last Frontier. But what else can you expect when I am stretching my time between the work, grad classes, research projects, Cheerleading coaching, Christmas present making, and working out. I think I would need a few extra hours in my day. Or maybe an extra day in my week.
In September we have had quite a few neat adventures: we spent the Labor Day weekend in Washington DC area so stay tuned for another trip update…. I promise it will be done after I have finished the psychological diagnostics exam. And then in mid September we headed out to Denali National Park for a weekend trip.
Denali Park is closed to private vehicles during their peak summer season, May through early September. During that time only the park busses are allowed to access the park roads past Savage River Gates. However, every year the park service opens the park for private vehicles after the main tourist season. People can apply for the access to the park through a lottery system, and lucky winners may purchase a single, day-long permit that lets them to drive as much of the Denali Park Road as weather allows. We got lucky again this year, and got our pass for Sunday, September 16. The weather didn’t cooperate too well so photographically the trip wasn’t a huge success but we did have a blast! No snow yet but overcasted skies and more than enough of rain.
End of the road
Denali National Park is located about 240 miles north of Anchorage, and is home of Mt McKinley, the highest peak in the North America. The park itself is rather big - 6 million acres, and larger than the State of Massachusetts, so no wonder it is also home for bears, moose, foxes, wolves, lynxes….. The unpaved gravel road inside the park is about 90 miles, and ends to a small community of Kantishna. Along the way to Kantishna and back we saw a fox with his lunch snack aka a squirrel, nine bears including a mom with her cub, moose (of course – they are everywhere in Alaska), and wolves.
We stayed a couple of nights at McKinley Chalet Resort, which is one of the larger resorts right outside the National Park, is dog friendly since our little buddy was with us, and has some pretty good deals for military! However, McKinley Chalet is a typical Alaskan tourist resort – designed to accommodate a huge number of people who are taking the cruise ship to Alaska. In addition to tourists being everywhere, food and shopping at the resort are expensive and quality is not the greatest. Better dining experience can be found for example at Prospectors Pizzeria & Alehouse, just across the Parks Highway.
Also breakfast-wise we headed to a local favorite, Rose’s Cafe in Healy – about 15 minutes north of tourist village where all the resorts are located. Made to order breakfast at $10 in a nice, tiny Alaskan restaurant compared to half-cold buffet in a tourist trap resort at $20 – it was easy to pick the breakfast winner. And just to let you know, their hot cake is huge and delicious. Too bad that I couldn’t even eat half of it – way too much for my appetite.
My travel shopping on the Denali trip was limited to some fabrics and yarns. Right now there is an Alaska Quilt Shop Hop 2012 going on. The idea is to visit as many quilt shops as possible, and collect a different quilt block from each store. I decided to join the fun and am now collecting blocks for myself and my mom. The completed quilt has 20 blocks, each being different and representing something Alaskan.
On this trip I stopped by at Sylvia’s Quilt Depot in Wasilla and got “Snowmobiling” block, as well as the cutest Dr. Seuss fabric ever. I didn’t even know that little town of Healy also had a quilt & yarn shop, Granma’s Quilt Shop - and even better, also they are participating in the Shop Hop. So there I got “Mom & Me” block, a couple of new fabrics and some yarn. And I better start to sew and knit way more since the husband thinks I am a yarn&fabric hamster when he sees my not-so-secret fabric stash.
Granma’s Quilt Shop findings
Alaska Block #19
Alaska Block #12
Grinch fabric from Sylvia’s Quilt Depot