Sometime during the overnight hours the rain started again, by the time we got up it was still raining and the outlook for the day was for rain all day and on into the evening hours not stopping until sometime Friday. Since the train doesn’t pull out until almost 1pm, we decided to head into town and walk around.
Talkeetna is very much a town for tourists, lots of cute shops that sell all kinds of souvenirs, from t-shirts and jewelry to fur skins, photos and post cards. There is a small market, Nagely’s Store, on the main square across from the park and this is where His Honor, Stubby the cat, Mayor of Talkeetna, resides. He is now 17 years old and is showing his age some. He is elusive, showing his face only when he wants to.
The train was late pulling into the station so our conductor, Warren, talked to us about safety, what we might see, and asked to allow the rafters to board first. Soon we were on the train and heading out for adventure. This is the last Flag stop train in America, including the lower 48. People can tell the engineer where they want to get off using the mile markers or location information, if it is generally known as some of them are. To re-board, just wave it down!
Jon did his usual thing, hanging out between cars or in the open baggage car taking some great pictures, like this one that also has a wonderful reflection on the side.
There are lots of houses and cabins tucked away up here, most were homesteaded in the mid to late 60’s and for them this train is the only way in or out or to get supplies.
Mary & Clyde Lovel homesteaded in 1964, raising 4 children here. She has written two books about her life in rural Alaska; “Journey to a Dream” is her first book. Oh, by the way, she is a native Californian too, just like me.
There is a push on to Dam the Susitna River for a power plant, the group in the photo above are doing a “feasibility study”, so far it has lasted 10 years. They have 2 helicopters at their disposal but use the train for new arrivals and supplies. Most of the locals are against the dam.
This is Hurricane, Alaska. Nothing but this building, more impressive is the stop on the bridge over Hurricane Gulch. Kids are allowed to make paper airplanes and toss them off to see how far they will fly. Estimates of 100 to 500 yards are made by the conductor. No one actually measures the distance.
On the way back, we stopped at this wonderful wide spot where you can look down on the clear stream below to see the salmon swimming up-river to spawn. If you look carefully, you can see the red fish in the stream. Click on the photo to get a closer look.
Tomorrow we do some off roading.