We’re back in the Big Smoke for a night, to have a shower, resupply, do some washing and dry out … from excessive rain not alcohol consumption. It rained all of last night and a couple of things got a bit wet. Our REI tent is a bit strange by Australian standards in that the fly only covers one end of the tent. The other just has a little bit of the fly overhanging the door, but doesn’t really stop the rain if it’s heavy. We tried to get a zip-on extra bit from the REI here, but they were out of stock, however their superb Customer Service department phoned the Fairbanks store and organised for us to pick one up there next week. Gotta love REI. Great products and customer service that really goes above and beyond.
The drive back from Homer was rainy, with very low cloud, so we didn’t get to see any of Cook Inlet, the mountains and volcanoes on the other side or even the glaciers across the bay at Homer. I’m glad we got to see it all on the way down when it was clear. It was pretty special the previous morning, getting out of our tent and seeing glaciers. The fishermen were still fishing at the Kenai/Russian River Junction, and it reminded me a lot of a public swimming pool on a summer’s day (apart from the rainy weather, that is) – loads of people standing in water not doing very much.
Our next stop is Denali National Park tomorrow. The family from Sth Carolina that we met at the Exit Glacier campground told us that they had camped inside the park at Wonder Lake, and had great views of Mt McKinley. Access to the park is quite restricted, understandably, and it is only possible to travel around inside the park by bus or on a private tour, no private cars or RVs allowed past a certain point a few miles inside the park, so if you want to see the park, you have to do a tour or get a bus. There are several campgrounds inside the park, with a limited number of sites which of course are very popular at this time of the year. We were very lucky – we got online last night and managed to book a tent site for 3 nights at Wonder Lake, and the Camper bus to take us there and back. It’s a 4-hour drive in on dirt roads. We’ll be off the air again for a few days while we enjoy the magnificence of Denali and Mt McKinley. Fingers crossed for clear skies – we heard of someone who has visited 3 times and never actually seen all 20,300 ft of the mountain, the top has always been covered in cloud. Weather forecast for the next few days at Denali is for rain tomorrow, then partly cloudy over the weekend, with a 10% chance of rain.