Updated: Nov 7, 2021
Summary: In our last full day in Alaska, we took a mellow daytrip up to see the Iditarod Museum in Wasilla and then strolled down the picturesque town of Talkeetna. Wasilla is approximately 45 minutes by car from Anchorage and Talkeetna is another 75 minutes further North on AK-3. On a clear day, we understand you can see Mt. McKinley from a viewpoint near Talkeetna, but unfortunately it was raining on the day we visited. The rain also canceled our hike for the day but truthfully, we were ready for a mellow day!
What Gear To Bring. When we traveled in June, the weather was susceptible to changing quickly. While we were lucky to have almost an entire week of gorgeous weather, this day did bring showers. Tip: bring layers including rain jackets and/or ponchos, gloves, and knit caps.
About the Iditarod. The Iditarod, the most famous sled dog race, runs nearly 1000 miles across Alaska over 8-15 days, depending on conditions. Mushers and their teams are required to compete in three smaller races to qualify for this challenging event. Each team consists of 12-16 Alaskan Husky dogs, with at least 5 of them pulling the sled at the finish line. Over the course of the race, each team must take one 24-hour rest and stop at the roughly 25 mandatory checkpoints.
Iditarod Museum. Dedicated to the event, the Museum features artifacts from the race, along with a great video of the history of the race.
The highlight of the stop for us, though, was time with a team of dogs. A little touristy, we know, but the short ride around the Museum's yard was fun. It was great to see the dogs do what they clearly loved.
As an added bonus, the Museum had two puppies available for visitors to hold. We were in love!
The Town of Talkeetna. This tiny town (pop ~850) is a two-hour drive North of Anchorage. we stopped here after our time at the Iditarod Museum in Wasilla. Est. in 1916, Talkeetna was a trading post and the home of district quarters for the Alaskan Railroad. Today, the historic central Talkeetna buildings have been converted to little shops and restaurants featuring local products and food. A popular tourist destination, Talkeetna is known to get busy. However, the day we visited had off-and-on rain, which helped.
Talkeetna is also the launching point for flight tours of Denali and other outdoor adventures such as fishing, hiking, ATV tours, and kayaking. As we visited on our last day of vacation, we decided on a mellow day of window shopping and enjoying coffee on the square.
Dinner at a Bar - Again. When we returned to Anchorage, we came back to F Street Station again for dinner. Partly because we were lazy on our last day of a 2-week vacation, and partly because we were still thinking about that great first meal, we once again enjoyed a meal at this little bustling restaurant and bar.
Closing Thoughts on Alaska. On our last night in Alaska, we reflected back on this beautiful State. We definitely can see us coming back here again. The wildlife alone, would bring us back. We also can't help but see how quickly the landscape is changing due to environmental changes. The physical posts at Exit Glacier, for example, was a stark reminder that the Glaciers we assume will always be there, are disappearing at an alarming rate. There is also a certain untouched element to the State that is appealing. It is the "Last Frontier," indeed. The vast remoteness of it all, brings longing in us return and explore it further. Until next time, Alaska.