Friday, June 13, 2008

Going Back a Few Weeks

We spend a lovely couple of days in Talkeetna last month. We went for a memorial gathering for our friend Jim who passed away in September. His wish was for us to get together and have a party and that's just what we did. The weather was outstanding! and we saw the Alaska Range, including Mt McKinley, for a couple of days straight - no clouds obscuring any part of the mountain. Often you can see the top, or the bottom, or a cloud strand will run though the middle. It was extraordinary.

A stay at the Talkeenta Alaska Lodge complements of my niece, which provided an excellent view of the mountains. They also had a very nice deck which was a great place to relax and enjoy a snack and a so-so margarita.

We met one evening at the Susistna River Lodge for an informal get-together to get acquainted and to provide a chance to make plans for the rest of the weekend. The place is right on the river (which was very, very low) and was a short walk from the downtown area. The place has a main building and then 3 or 4 really nice cabins that can accommodate 4-6 people. We also had a lovely water front view with a nice lawn area so we could be outside to enjoy it.

On Satruday after a good breakfrast at the Talkeenta Roadhouse, we had a great walk around X (or Z) Lake off Comsat Road. We really needed the walk because the food at the roadhouse was huge. The pancakes were larger than a dinner plate - they flopped over the edges. The Cinnamon Rolls was wider than the spread of my hand. The toast that came with most of the breakfast entres was homemade bread sliced at least an inch thick...gotta get those carbs in before hiking the mountain!

But back to the lake...Most of the lake was still frozen over but the ice was moving away from the shore. We saw a pair of red-necked grebes, well, we heard them first, staking out their breeding territory. I didn't see any signs of a nest being built but they may have just been starting it. The nests are normally built in the water and on a stump or near the water's edge. Often the nests appear to be floating. There is usually a nest on Smith Lake in Fairbanks.

We came across a fork in the trail and had to make a decision on which way to go. We decided Lil' Longer sounded better and it was just a short distance to a wall tent that you can rent for the night. We had lovely accommodates already secured so chose not to sleep in a tent!

I think that this might be a favorite spot for Rune. Someone found a quarter on the ground and then he found a $10 bill under a log. I wonder how that got there?

On Saturday evening my niece drove us to the place where the official gathering was to take place, Mountain High Pizza Pie where the proprietors, Todd and Ryan, graciously hosted the evening at their restaurant. We figured, knowing the company we were about to share the evening with, that there would be some good beer and excellent wine being served and Talkeetna being such a small town we didn't want to take any chances with driving on our own. And indeed, we had a great time meeting people we'd only heard stories about, sharing in some excellent food including one of Jim's favorite chicken dish, looking at pictures, and spending time together.

As a memorial gathering, it was a success in my opinion, we shared memories and created new ones along the way.

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