En route to McKinley, Alaska


September weather: Average temps of 59°/47°F. Average precip of ?”.

We’ll be the only ship in Whittier this day–and it’s the last ship of the year at the port.

Getting off the ship

Our  meeting time for departure was 06:30.  Red had looked at me and said “Are you kidding?”  Even so, she got to the meeting place before we did.  We left our cabin, with my purse, a backpack, and my expanded yellow tote bag.  We hadn’t planned on using the Flip-n-Tumble tote, but we couldn’t get everything into the backpack (I bet I could have gotten more in than Stan managed, though.)

We left our cabin about 06:32 to go down the two flights to Portofino, where we were meeting.  Partway down the stairs, Stan realized he didn’t know where his wallet was.  He went back to the room (with my key) so he could look–I’d last seen it on the shelf in the closet.

He came down (after the rest of the Yellow 3 group) and told me he couldn’t find it–and he’d looked through all of the pockets in his coat.  (I’d checked my purse and tote while he was gone.)  I reached for his jacket to do a search of my own and found it almost immediately.  He loves being able to carry everything in his Sev jacket, but sometime the large number of pockets also means he can’t find all those things he is carrying!

En Route

I’d been hoping for clear weather, but like the last two days, it’s been overcast and rainy.  I can tell that the scenery would be dramatic if it were clear.  With the cloud cover, it was still amazing but not as conducive to photography.

We shared a turkey sandwich as a brunch and will probably find a real lunch in Talkeetna.  The train guides have told us that we should stay in Talkeetna and take a later shuttle back if we want to explore the (very small) town.  We have our room keys and the shuttle schedule, as well as a map of Talkeetna, so we’re definitely ready to do some looking around.  There are several art galleries in town–that’s where I’d like to focus my shopping.  I’d love to find some artwork to take back.

Clouds across the mountains
Clouds across the mountains
It was foggy almost all the way to Talkeetna

Pre-trip Info


The train departs Whittier at 7:15 and arrives in Talkeetna at 12:45 pm. (5 hours, 174 miles).  From there, there’s a 1+ hour bus ride to the McKinley Princess Lodge.

I called Princess and asked about staying in Talkeetna and then taking a later shuttle.  The woman I spoke with suggested that they liked to get everyone to the lodge and checked in at once, but did say we could take a later shuttle.  We almost certainly will–why take a bus to the lodge (an hour), check in, and then turn around and take a bus (another hour) back to Talkeetna?  That wouldn’t make any sense.

There are two shuttles, which make the trip.  The shuttle is $10 round trip.  It leaves the lodge every hour on the hour from 7:00 to 5:00.  The returning shuttle leaves every hour on the half hour, although the final return is at 9:00 pm rather than 8:30 pm to accommodate

Trip Home  |  Ketchikan  |  Juneau  |  Skagway  |  Glacier Bay  |  College Fjord | On the ship | Train to McKinley | McKinley | Denali | Fairbanks