An Aerial Virtual Tour of Mount McKinley
July 20th 2011
Mount McKinley, Alaska
20,320 feet, 6194 meters
Cheryl and I were very fortunate to take an unbelievable flight on board a Cesena with our pilot Jeff, retired Alaskan State Trooper, up and around Mount McKinley. The views were overwhelming, I mean you see this sort of stuff o DVD’s but in person???? WOW!
When we arrived in Talkeetna Cheryl said, “Instead of taking the long boring ferry ride from Skagway to Prince Rupert, why not take flight, it is cheaper and let’s ride home.” I agreed because we are LOVING riding the Tiger’s and I mean you only live once to be able to fly on such a nice day to see the highest mountain second to Everest. Right there and then our route not only changed but after what we saw so were we.
For this post I am really going to shut up and just post as many of the pictures we took that I can. I also took video and hope to get that up soon too. Enjoy the photos, this is about all we have to show for today’s report even though we did end up riding to Anchorage to Gary and Deb’s house later in the day. I’ll explain who Gary & Deb are near the end.
Now, please enjoy the show!
Oh wait, forgot we have a few shots while we were waiting for our flight!
Cheryl was making these faces because she swears the group walking in front of us to the Talkeetna River let loose some gas. I did not smell who hear anything but that is nothing new.
In the morning many rush down to the river to see the peak of McKinley because it was a clear morning. When we got down there the peak was hiding just a bit. Only 30% of the public will ever see the peak because of the cloud cover. We were fortunate to just about see it in the clear.
cute little roasted nut stand by the river parks entrance. This town Talkeetna is full of little stores and is very busy with crazy loud tourists who appear to have a lot of money.
We decided to fly with K2 Aviation and we were booked for the 12:30 flight. To ensure there would only be two of us on the plane, Cheryl and I do not like to share our space too much, the crew in the office called up pilot Jeff, told him they had 2 for NOW which was about 12 versus 12:30 and off we went, just the two of us and Jeff. Thanks guys for keeping the flight our own private plane.
As I was talking as I do best about our ride to the staff of K2, Cheryl was wondering about taking her own photos.
Cheryl got me in a picture while I was taking a picture of the K2 crew.
Nice folks at this company. Highly recommend K2 and ask for Jeff the pilot.
OK, enough of the pre-trip pictures and on to the virtual aerial tour of this magnificent mountain. A mountain that should only be climbed by experience climbers. They are not hikers but skilled climbers, yet every year the mountain takes a few lives with it.
Cheryl was worried show might get motion sickness while up in the air. No such thing for either one of us, just FYI. Although from the look of this pic, Cheryl looks almost sickly.
That is Jeff’s back. A competent pilot who was also an Alaskan State Trooper.
Heading up the range was smooth and gorgeous.
Jeff gave us so many angles to get shots of the mountains by just simply tilting the aircraft all the while giving us little tid bits of trivia while listening to Fleetwood Mac too.
Tons of fresh snow
and we start our decent down back to the airport. We took well over 200 pictures so hopefully you got an idea of what we saw and experienced. Once in a lifetime opportunity with clear skies and a perfect afternoon to see the beautiful Alaskan Mountain Range.
Jeff informed us that there was a glacier fire up here a few years ago. They just let it burns itself out but it did take a few weeks he said.
Below is the town of Talkeetna
After this wild ride we went had lunch at this place….
took over an hour for us to get our food and it was not that great. I complained and all we got was “do you want a candy bar?” If we were in the area again, this would be one place we would not go back too.
we got back on the bikes to head out for the 2 hour ride to Anchorage. Got to ride through Wasilla and I said in my helmet, “Hi Sarah Palin!” Seriously I would have loved to been able to get in touch with Sarah to have a cup of coffee and chat about Autism and of course politics. But instead we flew by heading straight to Anchorage.
After riding on back roads Cheryl and I agree we like them so much better. Less people, less traffic and we decided we actually no longer like pavement.
It was a pretty ride to Anchorage but the stalling issues became a big problem with traffic lights and having to stop a lot. Again we hope to get this diagnosed soon at the Motorcycle Shop in Anchorage and see if our theory is correct that it is the air filter choking the bikes.
Our GPS took us straight to Gary & Debs house. They live off a dirt road which we psych to see and were greeted as we drove up their driveway. Gary was following us on SPOT. Got to love technology. As soon as we pulled up we said hello as we do not know one another except from the ADV Riders Forum. Gary’s name on the forum is GaryAK. Too funny is that Gary noticed our chains to be hurting a little bit, took out his Sea Foam stuff, and soaked the chains to be lube later. That calcium chloride really does a number on the O rings.
That’s Deb she really does not like to have her picture taken.
Sure nice to have a real home to stay at for a few days. Thanks in advance Gary & Deb.
Gary likes the Tigers too.
We headed out for a late dinner in town at Fletcher’s. Nice company and good food.
On the way back to the house, Gary & Deb showed us where Alaskan Leather was located, Motoquest, The Motorcycle Shop and the free camping for ADV riders that a Harley dealer has set up. We met 4 riders there. All are long term riders who have either been away for 3 years all ready, 10 months and 4 weeks or so. One thing in common is that all these riders have really no plans how long they will be on the road but it is much longer than Cheryl and I.
It’s pretty cool that I have read about all these places but to see them in real life is so much better.
The guy to the left is from Colorado riding a KLR which he LOVES. The couple in front are from Germany and sold everything to be on the road. They are waiting for his bike to be fixed. They both ride BMW’s. The guy in the back never found out where he was from but has been away for over 3 years and I think he rides a Dakar. All were at the free campsite. Good luck guys!
Got back to the house, looked over the bikes again and finally got to bed around midnight. Another GREAT day!