We saw some of our travel mates, and they said they’d seen five bears on the bus trip this morning! I was happy for them, but not disappointed because our flight was spectacular. We had a short wait to board the train:
Here it comes !!! Locomotive No. 4326.
We climbed up to the top deck of the Alaska Rail road dome car, and found our seats. Score! Since we’d bought the last tickets, we had a couple of empty rows behind us, and were able to each have our own row on opposite sides of the train. This meant I wouldn’t have to disturb Lou as I got up and down to take photos, and he could sneak a nap or two if he was so inclined.
This worked out so well, and there were no regrets about getting the new tickets. I heard our travel mates had a good ride too, and having us missing gave them a couple spare seats as well.
This car had a viewing platform just out the back door on the same level as the seating, and that was very convenient for stepping out to take photos or just enjoy the view.
The scenery from Denali to Anchorage was superior to the Fairbanks – Denali leg. We enjoyed perfect weather and several good looks at Mt. McKinley – we hit the jackpot, seeing the mountain 2 out of our 3 days in Denali. Narration isn’t really necessary; here are some photos of our journey.
We pulled into modern downtown Anchorage at 8pm. We grabbed a taxi to our hotel.
We were booked into the Clarion Suites hotel for two nights. It was fine, about 6 blocks from downtown Anchorage, but we didn’t need to do more touring – we were just about done with playing tourist.
Fortunately, there was a Benihana restaurant right next to the Clarion and we walked over there for dinner after cleaning up from the long train ride. It was nice to enjoy a meal together, sitting at our own little table for two.
This was officially the end of our add-on adventure with Knightly Tours. Technically, we ditched them when we decided to take the flight out of Kantishna and go our own way for the rail journey (this is no reflection on those we were traveling with – I just wanted to make sure the Alaska Rail Road experience lived up to expectations – and it did!). I heard there might have been some confusion when we were missing from the bus, and from the train, but we had gone out of our way to make sure people responsible knew we would not be joining the group.
We had to get some sleep for our last adventure – tomorrow is the big bear hunt.