Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Alaska: McKinley Explorer

All aboard!

Train travel is a great way to see the countryside, particularly for those who do most of the driving on trips. Such is the case in Alaska.

Holland America is part of a company that owns the McKinley Explorer. The train runs from Fairbanks to Anchorage and back. The passenger cars are classics. They feature passenger seating upstairs, with domed ceilings so that people can see the scenery in all directions. The downstairs level has seating for meals, as well as rest rooms.

Now, there is one drawback to this type of travel for our purposes - there aren't road signs to tell you what you are viewing as you go along during a railroad trip. And it's not like you can stop the car, get out and take a picture. So, one does the best one can by shooting through the window (stay close to the glass to cut down on reflection). I did buy the guide to the trip on board, but didn't furiously take notes every time I hit the shutter release. Therefore I have a group of nice photos with little idea where they are.

The picture here came out well at least, he wrote modestly. I'm not sure where or what it is, but I believe it is the Nenana River north of the Continental Divide. For what it's worth, the first two hours of the trip from Denali are the most interesting from a scenic standpoint. I'm not saying that the rest of the way is the equivalent of looking at the backs of hardware stores, but it just doesn't meet the early standards of the trip.

Here's someone else's video of what we saw, more or less. However, it's in reverse, as it goes from Anchorage to Denali:

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