Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Train Post

My last post mentioned trains in the title, but as I pushed the "Publish" button, I realized that I had not even included the portion about the train ride.  Besides, it really is worthy of a post in and of itself.  I have to admit that the thought of a 9+ hour train ride was less than appealing to me at the onset. But, I shouldn't have worried---I enjoyed every minute of it.

We caught our train at the Denali train station, so it was just a short bus ride from our lodging.

The Denali Express is a passenger train that features glass topped viewing cars on the second level, as well as dining cars.  We were assigned to the Hunter car, table 10.
As we left the station, all of the bus drivers gathered to wave good-bye to us.

Our table-mates were a couple from Michigan, Ruth and Jerry and we thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them.  Ruth was a retired orthopedic nurse, so she had a few helpful hints for me in regard to my wrist.
As we made our way south, we chatted and enjoyed the breathtaking scenery.
Ron and I made our way down to the viewing platform between cars at one point.  It was VERY windy and COLD!!!!  

We had lunch in the dining car with Ruth and Jerry and later enjoyed hot chocolate and shared cookies and gourmet popcorn (gourmet popcorn seemed to be a recurring theme during our stay in Alaska--imagine that).
Along the way, we saw beaver dams


and even eagles on the mud flats.
As we neared Whittier, there were groups fishing for salmon.

I was struck once again by how friendly everyone in Alaska was.  I mean, they are bound to see this train go by everyday, but everyone still stopped what they were doing to wave to us.  It was really nice!!
Finally, we arrived in Whittier, and as we pulled around the last bend, there was our ship in port.
As we crossed the street with our bags, we were excited to start the next portion of our adventure.

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