“We are looking over land where man may never have set foot,” said the commentator as I gazed out the dome shaped Plexiglas window that was arching up the side of the Wilderness Express on Alaska Railways. The trip was an excellent segue to our week-long trip explorer boat trip through Glacier Bay National Park with Un-Cruise Adventures.
The occasional settlements along the way were small, no more than two or three houses close together. We passed large towns like Wassila, Sarah Palin’s home base. “She did not see Russia from here,” said the waiter, smiling dismissively when I tried to strike up a conversation. Alaska Railways enabled us to get into the interior of Alaska, with itswide stretches of forests, occasional towns, creeks, and rivers with rapidly flowing currents. For part of the route we looked down to rivers running through ravines. When level with the ground, we often glanced over into swampy fields with animals. Snippets of news such as “Caribou spotted a half mile away on the left side”; “See beaver dam ahead—lots of little logs piled up like a hut”; or “Bear gnawing on a log about thirty feet on the right, coming up” often came over the loudspeaker.
After three hours we stopped in Talkeetna for an overnight stay (See separate blog on Talkeetna. By the way, after Denali we got on the train again and headed to Fairbanks) , Honeymooners sitting across from us were taking a slow ten day trip they’d planned through Alaska Railways, hopping on and off at various points for rafting, fishing, and flight-seeing trips.
Service on the train was excellent, and commentary along the way was entertaining and informative. Since we had a Gold Dome Package, meals were included. When it was time for dinner we were called down to the dining car where there were also wide windows. We had our cameras ready on the table–for shots of caribou chewing away in fields, beaver dams, deep ravines with rivers slicing through down below, and the train angling into tunnels as we were approaching a mountain.
Wilderness Express: http://www.alaskatrain.com/service/wilderness-express.html