Day 11 we woke up in Denali State Park, and Ralph and Mary Anne set off on their white water rafting adventure. It was tempting, but I didn't want to be a 3rd wheel and I think I prefer warmer waters - like the Colorado River. We met for breakfast (mine)/lunch (theirs) at the Salmon Bake since it had proved so successful the day before. If I stayed there for a week, I would probably still hang at the Salmon Bake every day.
I had reindeer or buffalo chili for breakfast - I had gotten to the point where it didn't really matter what creature I was eating. I mean, as long as it wasn't human. You never know with these mountain climber types.
I sampled my mom's fish and chips, which were totally killer.
But the pride of Salmon Bake may be their fruit pies. Sadly, they don't have ice cream. but pie this good has the confidence to stand alone. Ralph and Mary Anne split mixed berry
Mom and I went for blueberry. Niced thick crust without being heavy, just slightly sweet, surrounding super-ripe and sweet blueberries.
I had tried to avoid the nightmare "Watney's Red Barrel" coach trip, but soon we were lined up for the bus to take us on to the next lodge, outside of Talkeetna. The aisles were narrow, and everyone was pushing and shoving. I was trying to fit my bag under the seat, and it wouldn't fit. The crowd couldn't tolerate the delay and started pushing my mother. In response, my mother leaned over me, spilling the bottle of water she was holding all over me as she urged me to hurry and stow the bag. But the bag was just too big. I finally snapped and wailed, "Mom, I CAN'T do it." I didn't just mean the bag.
Just then Michael, the hippie, was passing by and said, "You CAN do it." At that moment, the bag slipped under the seat, I fell into my seat, my mom plopped down next to me and the crisis was averted. Way to give a hand up to a fellow traveler. He clearly heeded the word of Glen Campbell:
If you see your brother standing by the road
With a heavy load from the seeds he's sowed
And if you see your sister falling by the way
Just stop and stay you're going the wrong way
The driver tried giving a safety demonstration, but I was thinking,
"Just accept the fact that if there is an accident we are all going to die in a fiery inferno. Because how can you expect this group to wait and co-operate enough to pull the lever and push to the side when they are climbing over each other and stepping on each other's necks just boarding the damn bus."
My personal hell
Again, beautiful scenery. There were also bears in the road.
This is an igloo-shaped hotel that never quite took off
This lodge was much more rustic, kind of like summer camp. I just wish they had archery lessons.
What can you do to make a pelt look even creepier? How about sewing it onto a felt-cut-out that makes it look like it's lying in a pool of its own blood?
"Hey Bob, do you think there are any bears in this cave?"
"Well, I don't know, Bill, let's take a look..."
Long days and heavy rain make for giant plants
Once again we had a coupon for the lodge's restaurant. A pod member took me aside and pointed out the double-stroller. She asked, "Were you on the Denali Park Tour? Oh my God, those kids just did not stop! When I see that double stroller, it's like...it's like..." she searched for the words. "Like a harbinger of doom?" I offered helpfully. "Exactly." I started my meal with goat cheese and crostini.
I had a nice salad to stave off scurvy. Mmmm, candied walnuts. Scurvilicious.
Surprise! We had gigantic crab legs again. They weren't as good as the ones at the other resort. They were a little drier, and pulling away from the shell.
I kind of never want to see king crab legs ever again. Everyone loved the blueberry ice cream.
My chocolate mousse, made with ale, was actually pretty darn good
Then we all snuggled up into our little beds for the night. The end.