Alaska: Final Port – Whittier: July 2017

The start of our overland journey up to Denali National Park and Preserve! Click to read more.


Happy Wednesday everyone. It is a rainy day here in Texas and it finally feels like fall. I hope that everyone has enjoyed my Weekend Wanderings and Paperback Perils but now we are heading back to Alaska.

Day 3: Relief! We have service again – well sometimes anyway.

Our final port was Whitter but we didn’t actually spend any time in the city. We got off the boat and immediately onto a train. The train ride was nine hours and took us North from the coast, through Anchorage, and to Denali National Park and Preserve. In all honesty I was kind of dreading the train ride but it ended up actually being a good time.

This train is double decker. The first floor is a dining car and the second floor is the main travel seating area and the seats are tables with booth seating. The neatest feature of this train is the roof. It is a glass dome, so that no matter where you sit you can see everything. The ten of us are at three different tables. My aunt, uncle, and cousins at one. My grandparents are sitting together but sharing their table with members of another group. Mom, Drew, Brooke, and I are at the last table together. We talked a lot on that train ride and passed some beautiful country. We were in the last car on the train. And on the back of the train is a platform. After lunch and before my nap,I went out to snap. The train acted as a windbreak but the air was chill and it was raining and the moisture made me colder still. I loved it. 

The best thing that happened on this train ride was about six hours in. Brooke is 5’1” and tiny but has a huge appetite. Upstairs you can order drinks, snacks, and desserts. So she asks our waitress/bartender if their Fruit of the Forest pie was any good. The lady says, it is great but unfortunately our kitchen is closed. Brooke’s face fell. She looked so pathetic. A couple minutes later Drew gets up and says he is going to the restroom. He comes back with the pie a la mode. Brooke’s face lit up. She was so happy with the pie. It was dang good pie too. I only managed to snag one bite, she might have been a bit protective of it. Drew definitely earned some points for that.

When we finally get up to Denali they bus us to the Princess lodge, which is great because they gave us our room keys and next day itinerary on the train so we just go straight to our rooms, no additional check in required. Cruises are great but I, at least, get tired of a tiny bed and bathroom. So when we got into our room at the Princess lodge and had a queen bed and full sized bath tub I was in heaven. At this point mom and Drew go off on their own side quest looking for a certain type of whiskey and the rest of cross the main road towards the shops and restaurants. I bought flower seeds that are supposed to grow in most environments because I try and find “unique” gifts for people. After this we need food. Mom and Drew are still off on their scavenger hunt so the rest of us decide on Denali Park Salmon Bake for dinner because it’s close and looks cool.

All through this trip our grandparents had done their best to grab all the bills and checks. So throughout the trip we had done our best to get it before them. Which mostly included telling the wait staff at the beginning of the meal who to give the check to. This was one of those instances. Brooke and I enjoy a beer with dinner because local brews tend to be awesome. This restaurant had a big sign advertising their signature beer, the “Baked Blonde Ale,” but they were out! I tried out the Prospector’s Gold instead. Not a bad brew but lighter than I normally drink, which is fine because I enjoy trying new things. Back to the check, Brook and I try to get it but Uncle Steve  manages to snag it from us.  Baba and Papa make all the appropriate objections of people that are happy to get the bill but please that someone else did.

After dinner we all split up, Ty and Steve go back to the room while the rest of us wandered around a bit more. Eventually Lana and Allie head back to the lodge. At some point in all this our Papa pulls Brooke and I aside and asks us to see if we can find something that Baba likes but would never actually get for herself. We love this idea. Eventually it is just Brooke, Baba, and me wondering around the shops. We enter this store that has beautiful handmade jewelry and knives. And we get to showing each other things that we like. I’m a fan of knives. The bone and mammoth ivory handled knives are definitely out of my price range but the hand carved wooden handled pockets ulus are do able. Anyway, Baba finds these simple but beautiful sterling silver and mammoth ivory earrings. She wants to think about them and possibly get them the next day.

The three of us leave, Brooke and I giving each other knowing looks the whole time. We say we want coffee and we did. Baba is tired and heads back to the lodge. Sadly the coffee place was closed for the evening and I didn’t get my chai but it’s alright. Brooke and I turn around and headed back to the shop where I get my knife and we get Baba the earrings. After that we head back to the lodge too because despite sitting on a train for nine hours it had been a long day. It stormed that night and we slept with the window open to enjoy the sound and scent.

I hope that you have enjoyed my train ride adventure. Please feel free to comment if you have any questions!

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