Denali & Alaska: Part Six (Back to Denali via Palmer)

So, I hear some of you say “Palmer?” Well, this town is actually well worth a stop – as you’ll find when you read today’s post.

After leaving Valdez, we stayed in Palmer (for a second time). This city is right in the middle of the food bowl of Alaska, with long, warm(ish) days in summer creating ideal growing conditions. Apparently there are some pretty spectacular veggies grown here from time to time! Of course, ideal conditions for veggies are also ideal for travellers. The one thing that we didn’t like about Palmer was that, from the campground, we could hear some sort of driving heavy-metal drum beat going – at 2 in the morning! Let me tell you: ear plugs do not block out that particular sound.

Reindeer at Reindeer Farm in Palmer, AK
Reindeer at Reindeer Farm in Palmer, AK

We visited a cool farm where you can see elk, bison and moose and also feed reindeer (or domesticated caribou)! I guess the thing we liked most about Palmer was simply that it was a quiet little place that had a Safeway (blog followers may have previously read about our love of Safeway!) a library and nearby Wasilla had all manner of outdoor gear stores. Aussies will know the pain of paying ridiculous prices for outdoor gear, so finding North Face shorts at prices 65% lower than in Sydney was well worth writing about.

View from the campground we stayed at in Palmer, AK
View from the campground we stayed at in Palmer, AK
Copper beech tree -not sure if that's the real name, but it sure looks copper!
Copper beech tree -not sure if that’s the real name, but it sure looks copper!

The following pics were taken at the old Independence Mine in Hatcher Pass, just outside of Palmer. This is an interesting day trip as you get to go on a ranger led tour of the area, seeing many of the old buildings – some well maintained and others nearly derelict.

Derelict buildings at Hatcher Pass
Derelict buildings at Hatcher Pass
Red huts in Hatcher Pass, AK
Red huts in Hatcher Pass, AK
Derelict buildings at Hatcher Pass
Derelict buildings at Hatcher Pass

Meanwhile, back in Denali land…

Some of you may have worked out that these posts are not necessarily in chronological order. After Palmer, we stopped at Talkeetna on our way to Denali. We stayed at Denali for a week and then made our way to “sunny” Fairbanks for a very wet week. After that we returned to what had become a favourite spot at the Riley Creek camp ground.

Staying in a cabin allowed us to dry out our wet tent after Fairbanks' wet weather
Staying in a cabin allowed us to dry out our wet tent after Fairbanks’ wet weather

I will leave you today with some pictures of “Beaver Lake” as we called it, or Horseshoe Lake as it’s really called. This is a lake really close to the Riley Creek camp ground where a lodge of beavers have made their dam. We also saw moose chomping on weeds in the water and a porcupine trundling along. Quite a magical place for us.

Moose in Horseshoe Lake, Denali NP
Moose in Horseshoe Lake, Denali NP
Beaver dam at Horseshoe Lake
Beaver dam at Horseshoe Lake
Beavers have been at work
Beavers have been at work
Sitting on a lodge, waiting for the beavers
Sitting on a lodge, waiting for the beavers
Beaver building its dam, Horseshoe Lake
Beaver building its dam, Horseshoe Lake

Next time in Alaska: see some working dogs, a few squirrels and some beautiful wilderness. ‘Til then,

Wes

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