Chat with Deb—Is that Mount Denali? (Again?)
Okay, universe, once was delightful, three times was a little overboard, but seriously, the joke is getting old
Previously, on Deb & Jack’s Alaska Adventure:
Chat with Deb—Alaska Through the Mist
Many tourists never see Mount Denali. And then some have trouble making out the trees a couple hundred yards away.
Somewhere around 1:30AM I wake up (persons in their 60s or older can fill in the reason why) and, before I get back into bed, peer out the blackout curtains to see what a real Alaska night looks like.
Suspiciously like Alaska twilight, it turns out. No bright stars twinkling above, no deep black satin curtain covering the heavens. Kinda dark blue sky, maybe a couple white fluffy clouds. Okay, fine, back to bed.
Our alarm goes off, we snuggle, I tell Deb about the disappointing early morning view.
ME: The sky was blue.
DEB: (still sleepy, but agreeable) Uh-huh. (pause) Wait. No cloud cover? After fog and snow and everything yesterday?
We go to the window. It is… pretty out.
A brisk walk for our morning exercise confirmed that visibility was unlimited. Wow! Maybe we might possibly see Mount Denali today!
Our bus left bright and early for a quick transfer to our train to Anchorage.
The visibility through the windows was excellent, and the visibility of the terrain outside the windows was awesome! Even Dillon, our car’s guide, was impressed.
DILLON: You have amazing weather for the trip south! The most common question I get is, “Will we be able to see Mount Denali?” While the visibility is great for being able to see to the mountain, the mountain itself may be behind clouds. Large mountains generate their own weather, so there is no way to tell beforehand.
Which matched what we had heard from other sources.
DILLON: Remember, if anyone spots wildlife, holler out and give directions by clock. Immediately to our right is three o’clock, immediately to our left is nine o’clock. So, MOOSE AT THREE O’CLOCK!
This caused all the people on the left side of the car to pile into the aisle to see to the right side. This happened many times during the trip, for both sides. Hey, it’s exercise, right? (Kind of?)
DILLON: And I do believe, as we come around the next bend, if you look out the right side and a little behind us, you might see Mount Denali!
DILLON: We’ll be taking you down to the dining level for breakfast in shifts. If you do not want to eat breakfast with us, that’s fine, just let us know.
Deb and I are the third group to get cycled down.
DEB: We have empty tables they aren’t using, and the two kitchen—
DEB: —food-fixing people are also doing duty as servers. So the train company is also hard-up for people, but they have figured out how to make it work.
The landscape is pretty, and as we get farther and farther south the trees and vegetation are showing more green.
DILLON: We’re coming to a break in the woods as we come up to the river again. I think you should be able to see Mount Denali!
Our fellow passengers on the other side of the car across the aisle from us are a couple with the male half being scary-good at spotting wildlife. Alas, most of it is too far to get a good photo, and the rest I do not get my phone out in time.
DILLON: This is very unusual, I have to tell you, but I think we might be able to see Mount Denali again. This almost never happens, and I’ve been doing this for six years.
DILLON: You might notice something that looks like a strip mall coming up on our left. Yes, folks, we are entering the greater Anchorage area, and we are back in civilization.
DEB: Ah! There’s a Dunkin’ Donuts! And a supermarket! Okay, now we are back in civilization.¹
ME: There are now mountains between us and Mount Denali! I think we lost it!
We pull into the Anchorage train station and offload. A bus takes us to our hotel, and we are on our own until tomorrow night when our plane departs. So we go walking around town after checking in. We find a nice-looking restaurant by the water, with a beautiful view of the Cook Inlet.
DEB: (clinking wine glasses) Thank you for a wonderful vacation, Jackster!
ME: It’s not over just yet, honey! Thank you! (smooch)
DEB: And just look at that view! (peering into the distance) Honey, that’s not… that mountain isn’t…?
ME: No! Can’t be! (looking more carefully) Probably not, anyway.³
¹Deb believes that to be in actual civilization, we need to be no more than a ten-minute drive from a supermarket and a Dunkin’ Donuts.² Guess what features are within ten minutes from our house? And the odd thing is, we only go to Dunkin’ maybe twice a decade.
²DEB: Or Panera Bread. Doesn’t have to be Dunkin’. That was just a family joke Aunt Norma, Mom & Dad, and I had.
ME: Okay, you and I go to Panera several times a year, I’m good with that.
³It wasn’t. We found out the next day. But it has its own story.
Next: we tour around Anchorage, then get on the plane and head for home!