We have reached ALASKA- the final frontier! Highlights:
Day 1: Climbed Mount Baldy Loop (1st picture- you can click on each of them). Difficulty: Moderate. STEEP incline up and then a nice walk along the ridge. Was paranoid of a bear encounter. You're supposed to make noise when you hike and indicate to the bears that you're a human so we spent the latter half of the trail lamely yelling "we are human beings!" into the brush. Overall, good first hike of the trip. Then drove up to Denali. On the way we stopped by the spirit houses (2nd picture). They are funky grave markings- a tradition that fused together Russian Orthodox Missionary customs with local Athabascan Indian customs. Then we stopped in Talkeetna- a funky, small village with some cool shops (Nagley's store below).
Food: Breakfast burrito with reindeer sausage. Best asian food (Laotian) I've had in years in Wasilla (home to Sarah Palin but now also home to my favorite Alaskan restaurant). Brazilian limeaid in Talkeetna- gotta start making this at home.
Odds and Ends: Saw a Confederate flag up here :(
Day 2: Denali bus tour. Saw 3 moose before the tour had to stop and go back due to rain damaging the road. Bummer but you make due. Did Horseshoe Lake Trail in light rain (4th picture). My red jacket is paying dividends here. Difficulty level: Easy. Beautiful lake scenery and a number of dramatic beaver dams.
Food: PB and J while hiking. Dinner: will update later.