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"Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what happened." 
~ Jennifer Yane

That's one of my favorite "aging" quotes. Jim and I are typical Baby Boomers, I guess. We haven't come to grips with the concept of "middle age," let alone "senior citizens."

Unfortunately Jim got a rainy day for his 64th birthday. We didnít get all that much rain, but it was damp and gloomy all day. I donít think the temp got over 58 F. today in Anchorage. We're looking at another week of mostly rain in Southcentral Alaska, not the most promising forecast as we head north to Denali National Park this weekend.

Three "older" adventurers on the way up Flattop Mtn. on June 22;
even Cody still lets loose like a pup for a little while each day!

Jim got some nice e-greetings from friends and relatives. Weíll have to wait for our next batch of mail to see if any birthday cards were sent. Not many people mail real cards any more. I donít send out nearly as many as I used to, either.

We usually celebrate each other's birthday in a very low-key way. Ditto with other events like our anniversary and Christmas. We pretty much get what we want (within our financial means) when we want it and then say, "OK, that's my birthday gift." Consequently, we normally don't buy each other a bunch of gifts on those occasions.


We joke that this Alaska trip is our gift to ourselves for about every event we can think of in 2012 -- and maybe 2013, too! One of our major purchases is going to be plane tickets for a flight over Denali National Park in a few days.

Since it will be close to Jim's birthday, he said that's his "birthday present."

View of Mts. Foraker (L) and McKinley AKA Denali from the Coastal Trail on July 26

Today is also our last full day in Anchorage. We have reservations at two campgrounds in Denali National Park from August 5-16 and plan to spend a few days on the way up there at a campground in Denali State Park.

While I was doing some research this afternoon about various things to do and see between here and there I found these links on the Alaska Dispatch website to some very dramatic photos of the Alaska Range and the territory between Anchorage and Denali National Park.

The first link is for photos taken on July 19 during a plane flight to see Mt. Stevens, named in honor of former U.S. Senator Ted Stevens from Alaska. Although clouds obscured the peak that day, photographer Loren Holmes took some spectacular photos of glaciers in the Alaska Range and aerial views of the lush Mat-Su Valley.

Here are two of them:

Ruth Glacier by Alaska Dispatch photographer Loren Holmes

Tokositna Glacier by Alaska Dispatch photographer Loren Holmes

Check out the other great photos, too, and be sure to read the text written by Katie Medred below the slide show.

The second link is to photos taken a week later on July 26, when Holmes was able to photograph Mt. Stevens. There are other dramatic pictures in the Alaska Range and Mat-Su Valley that day, too, and more interesting text by Laurel Andrews below the slide show.

Now we're even more psyched up about the plane flight we'll take from Talkeetna or Healy over the Alaska Range next week!


Despite Jim's birthday we had a long list of things to do today. It's our last of seventeen days in Anchorage. 

Since we'll be away from a town of any size for at least two weeks we wanted to do some last-minute shopping to stock up on food and supplies before we head to Denali state and national parks. We also had laundry to do and maintenance/prep work on the truck and camper.

Even little mobile houses require some maintenance.

Jim rinsed off the camper and truck, including the camper roof. He cleaned and lubed the hydraulic jacks, topped off one of the propane tanks, checked tire pressures, put the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) back on the camper tires, replaced the damaged tailgate on the truck, got gasoline and diesel fuel, and did some other camper/truck chores.

We drove to the JBER library to return some movies, got new brakes for Jimís bike at REI, went to WalMart and Samís Club, and ate lunch at House of Bread:

Jim got half of the dayís special sandwich and a cup of Manhattan clam chowder; I got a bowl of spicy chicken tortilla soup and three small slices of jalapeno cheddar bread. We took home two half loaves of fresh-baked bread (14-grain and raspberry swirl). Yum!

Wish weíd known about that place the first time we visited Anchorage because we would have eaten lunch there more frequently.

When we got home I did two loads of laundry. Usually Jim does that when weíre traveling but I wanted to do something to make his birthday special. <wink>

Next entry road trip from JBER in northern Anchorage to Byers Lake Campground at Denali State Park on the Parks Hwy., with a side trip to Talkeetna

Happy trails,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, and Cody the ultra Lab

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© 2012 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil