US Trip 2018 – Day 2 – To Denali and back

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The route this day took us from Eagle River to Denali and then back down to Talkeetna (almost). A very long day, but it didn’t feel that long, due to the length of the daylight.

Approximate time on road/out caching:  15 hours
Total miles driven: 398 mi / 640,5 km
Total cahes found: 28
Total DNF: 1
States visited: Alaska
Famous places visited: Denali National Park
Most memorable cache: GC2N873 How to identify a soil
Biggest surprise: The massive amount of people inside the Denali Visitor Center
Weather: Rain, overcast and some sunlight later in the day
Highest temperature: 16°C / 61°F
Lowest temperature: 9,4°C / 49°F

A slow start

Normally when traveling west like this, we get up very early due to the jet lag. We didn’t get up too late, but we also didn’t leave the hotel until 8am. Which is late for us when we have a long day planned.

The hotel breakfast was not good, in fact it was so bad that we had to stop in Wasilla for breakfast. Before we even found the first cache of the day. We had planned to only stop at the caches on the correct side of the highway, and only those close to the road. Since we had so long to drive, and we wanted to spend time inside the park.

The weather was a bit wet, and also kinda cold. So it was a good thing that we hadn’t planned to stop too much. We did however have to stop for the crazy amount of roadwork that was going on.

Summer clothing

We did not dress for winter, and we didn’t bring any winter clothing with us either. So it should not come as a surprise that we got wet. Very wet. The only solution, at least the best we could think of, was to let the clothes dry on the dash of the car between caches.

And we figured that we might as well just run to the cache without any shirts, as we are a lot easier to dry. After all, we are vikings from Norway 😉

Living on the western coast of Norway, we are also very much used to weather like this…

Still a lot of fun

A little rain can’t stop us from enjoying our vacation! So we still had lots of fun, and we did find the caches we wanted to find 😀

As we got closer and closer to Denali, the weather started clearing, and the vistas became greater and greater. This day didn’t turn out to be as bad after all.

We did mess up a bit with the order of the caches we had planned near the park entrance, but that only resulted in a bonus find, so we can’t really complain.

Denali National Park

We enjoy visiting National Parks, and Denali was the first one on this trip. We did the obligatory stop at the entrance sign, before continuing into the park.

On the trail to the first earthcache inside the park, GC1YF1G A Geologic Story, Heltinnen got the question «Do you work for Garmin?». It’s strange how many times people in America assume we either live in or work at the place we have on our clothing. People continued to ask about Garmin for as long as the weather was cold enough. And a lot of people ask if we are from wherever we have on our t-shirt. This never happens in Europe 😛

After the next earthcache, we continued to the Visitor Center to purchase our park pass. We were not the only ones wanting to do that, so that took quite some time.

The next caches was located along the trail from the Visitor Center, so we had to walk from there.

Do you have a permit for that?

On every trip we have some things that stick, on this the first one was the question we got by a random muggle. We were almost ready to start working on GC2N873 How to identify a soil, when this conversation took place:

Random muggle: Are you going to the <can’t remember the name>?
Us: No, we are just geocaching (earthcaches can’t be muggled anyway, so no reason to hide what we are doing)
Random muggle: Do you have a permit for that?
Us: No, we don’t need a permit for this
Random muggle: In a National Park!?

Then we tried explaining that the earthcache was approved, and that it had the necessary permissions. She didn’t seem to understand, but at least she left us. Keep in mind that we did nothing but standing on the established (and marked) trail, reading on a piece of paper. I’ve never heard of anyone needing a permit to do that…

The picture above was not from the «permit cache», but from the next. But it does show how good the trail was…

To the end and back

The next cache we had planned was at the end of the road. At least the road we were allowed to drive on. We only got to see a small part of the park, but it was still a lot to see. A nice bonus was the low traffic.

We stopped for the cache at the turn around point, GC1YF17 Glacial Rivers & Wildlife Thorofares, before heading back to the park HQ.

We had to make several photo stops along the way back.

Too late, bad planning

Even though we use a lot of time planning our trips, and add as much information as we can, we sometimes forget stuff. And we also sometime forget to read what’s on the plan.

So we arrived at the park kennel too late. The most annoying about that, is that we would have been there in time if we had stopped on the way out.

We got the two caches there instead, and we just have to look at this as another reason for coming back later!

Getting wet again

It was time to start on the way south, so we could get to our cabin in Talkeetna before it got too dark outside. We had planned to stop at the caches on the west side of the road on the way down. But now the rain started to return (or we returned to the rain), and we had to skip some of them.

But skipping caches is hard, so at GC20ZP6 Denali Panorama we decided to wait for a couple minutes. And sure enough, the weather cleared, and we ran out to find the cache.

Cozy cabin by the lake

A couple stops later, including one at the gas station (hate it when we can’t use our European cards at the pump, and this one even said so on the pump itself), we arrived at the Hobbit Cabin.

If you’re ever in the area, we highly recommend staying at this place!

It was a nice bonus that we arrived before sunset, and early enough to realize that we were going to spend the night at the end of a tiny «airport» 😀


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