John & Gayle set off on their own to Talkeetna, south of Denali National Park. Talkeetna is a small town good for a couple of hours of shopping and eating. Camping in town is limited, especially for big rigs, and two freight trains run right by the local park each night. Or you can camp like the couple we found alongside a lake. She drove the camper in and he flew in the plane.
But the real draw at Talkeetna was two more Alaska TourSaver coupon adventures: river rafting and a scenic flight around Denali (Mt. McKinley.) The raft trip was not a white water experience, but more a wildlife float, and the animals didn’t cooperate. Some nice scenery and a few bald eagles were the main events. We went on the 4 hour float, but for posterior comfort, we would recommend the 2 hour.
Talkeetna has a selection of companies doing air tours of Denali. Some land on a glacier, but we chose the one that flies all around the top. The pilot from Talkeetna Aero Services was great. He would weave around in an S-shape so that passengers on both sides of the plane got a view, and dip the wings to show even more. He flew all the way around at 20,000 feet in altitude. We had to use oxygen, but the view was worth it. Few visitors get to see a clear view of McKinley, since it is usually shrouded in clouds. But we saw, not only the whole mountain, but a string of climbers approaching the top. It was a great experience.