I'm pretty surprised that it took us so long to get to Alaska. We had been to every state in the US except for Alaska and North Dakota. Between the two, it was no contest which one we wanted to visit more.
Sorry, North Dakota, but you're next on the list.
If I had to say which state I think Alaska is most like, I'd have to say Texas. WHAT?!! Except for size, they don't seem to have much in common, and even regarding size--although they are the two largest states in the Union--Alaska is 2.5 times larger than Texas.
What I found to be similar is that both feel almost like an independent country rather than a state. Things are just different in Texas and Alaska.
Here is Goldilocks (Whiteylocks?) and the Three Bears:
We arrived in Anchorage in the WEE hours of the morning (4:15 AM constitutes "wee," doncha think?), picked up our rental car, and headed north towards the metropolis of Talkeetna. There was plenty of "purple mountain majesty" to appreciate:
"Bob! Bob! Can we visit Sarah? We can see Russia from her house!" (At least that's what SNL said she said. What she really said was "They're our next-door neighbors, and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska." I was kind of disappointed to learn she didn't say she could see Alaska from her house.)
We had a 10:00 AM appointment for an adventure in Talkeetna that was at the top of my list, but we got there so early that we had to kick around for a few hours. Talkeetna is a swanky little town:
There is no better way to kill time than to eat, and if you're going to eat in Talkeetna, you'd better stop at The Roadhouse and try some of their specialties:
Then you have to walk it all off, and that's fun to do in Talkeetna:
We were in Alaska in late July, the peak of their summer, and I was wowed by the beautiful vegetation:
Fuchsia? Isn't that native to Central and South America?
One of our kids is an amateur mycologist, so I'm always on the lookout for mushrooms. They were everywhere. He would love Alaska:
Well, on to why we were hanging out in Talkeetna.
One of the items on my Bucket List has been to go ziplining--not at a theme park, but over trees and lakes. My dream came true in Alaska at Denali Zipline Tours:
Okay, here we go!
See, Bob? I told you it would be fun!
In addition to the NINE zips, each longer and more adrenaline-pumping than the last, there were three aerial walkways.
They had a way of swinging back and forth when we walked on them.
"Look, Judy! No hands!" (Every group has a show-off.)
We had a great group of six zippers and two pretty crazy guides, one at each end of the zipline. The other zippers were a couple from Palmer, Alaska, and sisters in their 20s from North Dakota. They also needed two guides so that one could take pictures, which they supplied to us free of charge via email after we got home:
It's nice to have their photos:
Can you tell the rain is falling on our faces? It was all part of the experience.
Ziplining made us hungry. Had we eaten breakfast? We couldn't remember. After we saw this spinach bread, we were sure we hadn't had any breakfast.
Yum-EEEEEEEEE! I give it--and Denali Zipline Tours--an A+.