Talkeetna is very small village, but very popular, especially in the summer. Talkeenta is an Indian word meaning “where the rivers join”, and is located at the confluence of the Talkeetna and Susitna Rivers, making it a popular summer fishing destination. For you fans of Cuba Gooding Jr., the movie “Snow Dogs” was set in Talkeetna, which features the excruciating hijinks of a Miami dentist relocate to Alaska.
I didn’t have anywhere lined up to stay, but being the off season I didn’t anticipate a problem to find a place to rest my head. As we descended a hill into the city about a mile outside of town we saw the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge. It was a large hotel overlooking Mount McKinley, with a stately woodsy lodge feel.
I was still eager to see the northern lights, but unfortunately the solar report at spaceweather.com, which predicts potential for aurora activity said that the next few days would not be very active. That night we found a place to park by the small Talkeetna airport, and sat there in the car for a few hours listening to Art Bell hoping to see the lights but alas the lights did not come out for a performance.
Sleeping in after a long night of doing nothing, we had breakfast in town, and went for a hike along the tracks of the Alaskan Railroad. We expected frigid temperatures during the day, but it wasn’t any colder than a cold winter week in Denver. We walked along the railroad tracks about four miles, and turned around when we met a man on a snowmobile warning us of a concerned mother moose up ahead protecting her young. We talked to the man for a bit, who was going to his cabin a few miles down the tracks. His snowmobile was loaded up with a propane tank and some groceries from town. It was interesting to meet someone who lived in a place with access only from snowmobile, and was that self sufficient.