Friday, June 5, 2015

Denali With Princess Tours

We had a morning train to Denali and the Denali Princess Lodge. I didn't realize that Princess does not run rail between Fairbanks and Denali so we were on the regular Alaska Rail. We had a domed car all to ourselves, which meant we could each have a window seat if we wanted. A dining room was on the lower level and breakfast was available for purchase. (We had grabbed a Danish from the lodge coffee shop and coffee from our room.)

We saw a lot of moose on our way and beautiful scenery although the overcast skies put a damper on our photos. The train ride was very comfortable.

At the Denali Princess lodge our group had rooms in the two new buildings, set up on a hill. Between the buildings was an open area with rocking chairs and a third building with a lounge, coffee bar, and computers. Our buildings had elevators and our room faced the mountains. A small shuttle ran continually around the lodge grounds for anyone who didn't want to make the hike from one end to the other.

We arrived in time for lunch for which we had vouchers. I ordered seafood mac and cheese which had to be sent back to be heated up. Even hot, though, it wasn't exciting. Neither was the seafood dip appetizer that our waitress was pushing. Dinner on the other hand was excellent. We ordered the crab legs which included a type of Alaskan crab and another type similar to snow crab. It was a huge portion and it was excellent. (And if you plan on having this, have it at Denali. The size of the portion and quality at the other lodges was no where near as good.)

The next day, our full day in Denali, included a wildlife tour into the park. Our tour was suppose to include the Tundra Wilderness Tour which is a full day excursion. However, being so early in the season, the road was closed and we were on the Talkeetna tour. This was a half day excursion and we saw moose and caribou. Disappointingly, we saw no bears on our entire trip.

We had an option after our included tour: back to the lodge or dropped off at the Visitor's Center. We opted for the Visitor's Center and spent some time there plus had a snack at the nearby concession building. We then got on line for the 1:40 free park bus that would take us out to see the park sled dogs. The free demonstration was at 2 pm and they ran as many busses as necessary to get all interested viewers out there. We wanted an early bus because I knew the seating was limited and we wanted front row seats.

Getting there early, DH claimed our seats while I wandered around the kennel. Most of the dogs were very friendly, rolling over to be petted. These, like all sled dogs, are Alaskan huskies. They are bred for personality, intelligence and the desire to please. During the winter, these dogs and the sleds are used to patrol the boundaries of the park. And this particular kennel breeds one litter a season. Unfortunately, we were a week too early to see the pups. Our lecture followed up with a demonstration of the dogs pulling a sled around a track. It was really interesting to see how excited the dogs got when they saw the harness being laid out ... it was kind of each of the dogs calling "ME! ME! Choose ME!"

1 comment:

First Grade Carousel said...

I am really enjoying your review. Can't wait to read more. We begin our land tour very soon, then onto the Coral Princess. Thanks for the tip about the crab.