Denali by air

Yesterday was our Planes, Trains, and Automobiles day — we took the Alaska Railroad down to Denali, and then went flightseeing around Mt. McKinley with Denali Air.

I don’t have a lot of time to write, so I’ll talk about the train later, but the flightseeing was really amazing. It was a nice day, so we had good views of the glaciers and smaller mountains. Our plane went up to about 12,000 feet, so there was still a lot of McKinley above us (it’s 20,320 feet tall), but what we saw was really freakin’ cool. We couldn’t get close enough to look for climbers — too windy — which was too bad, since I really had zero sense of scale or size. At one point while we were approaching the mountain, it started looming in the distance, and the pilot said we were still about 45 miles away. That there’s one big mountain.

On the return trip, we passed a nearby Big Tall Hill with two rocks on it; they looked about basketball sized from where we were, but the pilot said they’d been deposited there by a glacier and were about the size of a two-story house. So, um, there ya go.

Steph and I have been made fun of mercilessly, as we both dozed off on the flight. 🙂 We couldn’t help it! It was comfy, we were warm and sitting in the sun, we were in a patch of smooth wind….*shrugs*

I wouldn’t recommend the flightseeing to anyone who may get airsick easily — there were definitely moments of roller-coaster drops and climbs — but overall, it was smooth and a ton of fun. Our pilot was really good: funny, informative, and we found out later that he’s the actual owner of Denali Air.

It’s a nice day today, too, so hopefully we’ll see Mt. McKinley on our ride down to Anchorage. Steph is off shipping stuff home at the post office — we used up all of Peter’s extra luggage space already, the poor guy — and then we’ll start heading south.

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2 Responses to Denali by air

  1. sharad says:

    Great photo of Denali! Those clouds up top are lenticular clouds and tell climbers “Don’t come up here, high winds!” Despite the wind, looks like you had great weather for your flyaround.
    Good luck with your return trip and thanks for the vicarious thrills!

  2. Justin says:

    Sounds like relatively minor bike problems-if any. That’s amazing.

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