AK 2010, Day 3: En Route
AK 2010, Day 3: Driving into the Night
KB and I headed to Fairbanks today, 350 miles north of Anchorage. We’ve got her sister’s 8-cylinder Chevy pickup, a cooler full of salmon, bulk dry goods, a bike, our packs, and all the necessities for a portable writer’s desk. It’s a long drive but we don’t care—the daylight is long in Alaska and even longer as we drive further north.
Along the way, we stop at a music festival in Wasilla. Everyone there is talking fish. Red salmon, pink salmon, silver salmon, king salmon. Hot smoked or cold smoked, frozen fresh or jerky. It seems as though there are as many ways to cook fish as there are people to catch them. KB is an Alaska resident, so she can dipnet. If I were to fish, as a non-native and non-resident, I’d be relegated to rod ‘n’ reel status, a slowpoke among the professionals.
[Denali as viewed from the Parks Highway, 11pm and cloudy]
We’re a few hundred miles up the Parks Highway when the sun “sets” (about midnight? 1am?). It’s cloudy tonight so we actually have to use our headlights but still, it’s light enough to see a blue fox, mother moose and her calf, a porcupine, and a hawk (all that while driving 70 miles per hour).
Sometime after 2am we can see the lights of Fairbanks, but our turn is a few miles before the city limits. Down a marked, paved road, right down a gravel road, and left into a hole in the woods for parking. It’s a 10-minute walk across the road, over railroad tracks, and through the woods to our little pond-side cabin. There’s much to be done before settling in, but for tonight we’re happy with our sleepwear, bath bags, and one box of Pinot Evil red wine.
With headlamps lit, KB leads the way. By the time our heads hit the pillow, the sun is already “rising” and it will be light by 4am. No matter. We’re tired as old dogs and rest easily.
I spent a week at Denali Nat'l Park and saw the mountain for five minutes one morning. You were lucky! Enjoy!