Thursday, May 25, 2006

A-day +15 Side Trip to Mt. McKinley

Best day of the trip, so far. In fact, I'll predict there will be nothing better.

We woke today to perfectly clear skies and this view of the tallest mountain in North America. Rarely do visitors see Mt. McKinley. It is estimated that only 30% get to see it. This is our 3rd visit and by far the best view ever. We are told they get only about 2 days a month where the mountain is completely visible. It is over 20,000 feet tall. Colorado is proud of its "fourteeners" and rightly so, as they are magnificent. But this baby practically pops out of the ocean and goes up over 20,000 feet.
Last time we were here, we tried to get a flight around the mountain, but the clouds were too dense. This time we lucked out. We booked the flight while on the road yesterday with Talkeetna Air Taxi. When we got to the airport this morning, the lady at the counter asked if we were sure we didn't want to do a glacier landing. We kind of hemmed and hawed about it until a guy behind us said we would regret not having done it, and if we didn't like it, we could have our money back. Turns out this guy is the owner of the company. So for an extra $40 each we set out. We had a great pilot, a very young Alaskan named Jonathan. He was an excellent tour guide and told us all about the geography and history of every area we flew over.

After circling the mountain, he said to check our seat belts as we were about to land. We headed straight at the mountain and before you could say, "Ski Patrol!" we were perched safely on the Ruth Glacier. There was already another plane perched up there. And shortly after we landed, a third plane landed.

Finally, on the journey home, Sweety was the CO-PILOT! Watch out for that mountain straight ahead!

This was SOOOOO fun! We did not ask for a refund. Posted by Picasa


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