From Palmer we head out to Talkneetna. Talkeetna is a flavorful old mining town with only one paved road. The town also serves as base camp for many brave souls attempting to summit Denali (a/k/a Mt. McKinley). And we have plans to spend the night here.
We reserved a room through the Talkeetna Roadhouse. Roadhouses are common in Alaska along trails that were used by pioneers. I read that the Roadhouse was commonly the first establishment built in a mining town. The room we got is not actually in the Roadhouse but the upstairs level of the town museum. The town museum was originally the schoolhouse and is still painted schoolhouse red. We bring our stuff up and check out the room and then decide to see what’s going on in town.
This little town is super cool and everything is within walking distance. Gotta have on those layers and snow boots though!
First stop was a gift shop that had lots of goodies including a nice selection of items from local artists. While I was talking to the storekeeper my daughter was looking at some books about the local history. (Earlier, I had mentioned maybe taking a ghost tour but we found out that people that live in Alaska ain’t thinking about guiding a ghost tour outside when it is -10 degrees. Ghost tours are a summer activity!) My daughter noticed a book on Ghosts of Talkeetna. While flipping through we saw a picture of the schoolhouse but kept on going and didn’t read the story. When we mentioned we were staying at the schoolhouse our new friend at the gift shop told us not to worry that only "friendly" activity has ever gone on at the schoolhouse. I'm a scaredy cat so tried to pretend I didn’t hear a single word of that conversation.
After looking around another store (and taking pics in the fun cut outs) we walked down main street and stopped at Denali Brewing Company/Twisted Creek Restaurant for dinner. It was pretty easy to tell that this place is a local favorite and everybody we met was just as nice and welcoming as they could be.
Several folks we spoke to in town told us that they see the Northern Lights all the time in Talkeetna. WooHoo! We were very excited about the possibility of seeing the lights tonight! After dinner off we go back to our room which was really a little apartment. It had a kitchen, living room, one bedroom and one bath. In the living room there was also a twin bed. I took the bedroom so I could put a crack in the window to get cooler without freezing my daughter out of the house.
From what people told us and what we read we didn’t expect any Northern Lights activity to happen before 10:00 pm. So we cranked up Netflix and put on an episode of Criminal Minds. As the second episode was starting my daughter said she was going to take a nap but set her alarm for 11:00. I said no worries I would be on the lookout. Well, a few minutes after she fell asleep I went to the kitchen window to check. Nothing. But I did notice for the first time that there was a big dark wood rocking chair in the kitchen. Tried to push that from my mind but then of course all I could think about was the store lady saying ‘friendly ghost activity’. Looked online about the lights and read that sometimes the entire event lasts only ten minutes. So then I started getting up to check, yes, every ten minutes. Why did I say I’d be the lookout? Now I have to walk by the scary rocking chair thinking "please don't start rocking" every few minutes. Whaa.
At 2:00 I woke my daughter and said I was getting so sleepy and didn’t think I could keep looking out anymore tonight. She turned over and said “lookout for what?” For what?! Are you kidding me? Off to bed for me. Had to get up and look a few more times though. And then the fear of Casper & friends made me try to sleep with a light on (but who can sleep with the light on - not me). Finally fell asleep about the time my daughter was waking up. Of course.
Before getting back on the road to Fairbanks this morning we see “The High One” in all of its majestic beauty. That story next.
Happy & Safe Travels.
Come along with this southern girl on my fun travel adventures! I’m taking the tours; seeing the sites; trying out the hotels; dining at the restaurants; cruising on the cruise ships; and sharing the experiences on this blog. I hope you enjoy reading about my travel escapades and that they will be inspiring and helpful when planning your own fabulous adventures.