Keen on Talkeetna
~Wednesday, August 24, 2022~
Day 801 (Travel Day)
Day 65 of Alaska Trip
It is crazy how quickly the foliage is changing in this part of Alaska. When we first arrived to Denali, we might have spotted just a few trees way yonder at the beginning of their seasonal change, but the others are quickly following suit.
Presently, we are headed for Talkeetna, backwards from where we just came. Because we had to get to our reservations in Denali (one of the few campsites we’ve reserved on this trip), we had to pass up Talkeetna which was on the itinerary before Denali. So now we drive the 120 miles back to this charming pioneer town.
In desperation to try and see Denali in all its splendor, we hoped by stopping at the North and South overlooks that we might get a glimpse. Only about 40% was visible in either location. We’ll try again on our way to Fairbanks.
About 20 minutes outside Talkeetna was our first choice of a campground…..boondocking on the Susitna River. Our first glance produced a “that’s it?” reaction. A long rocky beach was visible, but not another soul on it. A gentleman was gearing up his ATV’s on a nice little pullout, so we thought we’d ask about the camping in the area to which he said it was a very popular place for RV’ers but maybe the rain or being late in the season was keeping people away. Jeff walked down to check it out a little further and came back feeling it wasn’t the best option. We could manage the road to get in, though it was pretty dicey. But we just didn’t feel good about the remoteness of the area and not having anyone else around us. The trailer would have definitely been visible from the road and wouldn’t have felt comfortable ever leaving it there with Sadie alone. Always go with your gut I say! Yes, it would have been nice to be right on the river, yes Sadie would have had a ball, and yes it was free. But it wasn’t worth the risk. Next choice…..the Woodpecker RV Retreat, just 2-1⁄2 miles from town. I called to see if they had any openings to which they did. But when I asked about multiple nights, the owner Will, seemed a bit hesitant. The strange thing was when we arrived, there wasn’t another soul at the 4-site place, so I’m not sure why he was hesitant about my request for any additional nights. When we pulled in, our first thought was, ‘where is the campground?’
You basically pull into a front yard that has been converted to 4 campsites with access to water and 30A electric service. The photos made it look like an RV park with more of a campground setting and the reviews were great. We agreed to 3 nights for the time being, possibly adding more if we decide there’s more to see in the area. The deal was $40/night if paid in cash as opposed to $45 with a credit card. Rarely carrying cash, we were lucky to have had enough on hand to pay the 3 nights. There’s another RV park in town called Alaska Hideaway RV Park, but evidently it’s much more crowded as opposed to this peaceful, tranquil setting. All a bit funky, but we went with it. After Will helped us back into a middle space, he talked about the area, even suggesting a jet boat adventure that his wife Marya works for as well as a flightseeing tour. Talkeetna is known as an aviation hub for bush planes, float planes, and tour planes. In fact, climbers who are adventurous enough to make it to the 20,023 foot peak of Mt. Denali are flown to the glaciers by these planes to start their ascent. Plus, there’s plenty to see in the 4-block town with its array of shops, restaurants and museum. Hopefully, one of these tours works into a good weather day that Mother Nature sees fit.