Remember that quirky TV show Northern Exposure, set in fictional Cicely, Alaska? We went there last weekend. Or went to the town that was the inspiration for the show, anyway, according to some.
The little town of Talkeetna, with about 800 or so residents, is about a hundred miles north of Anchorage and has been on my list of places to visit for some time now. It’s truly charming and yes, very quirky. They elected a cat mayor, for heaven’s sake. Mayor Stubbs, a big orange tomcat who freely roams about town, was a write-in candidate for mayor and as of now, still holds the honorary title. We saw him (and his lack of a tail, hence the nickname) while we were there but unfortunately I didn’t get his picture.
I did, however, take a snapshot of where we spent two nights – the Lil Cabin in the Back behind the Talkeetna Roadhouse.
When Mark made our reservations to stay in Talkeetna, he warned me that there were few places to stay and that the only available place was the Lil Cabin, which did not have its own private bathroom. Sadly, I am a person who cannot make it through the night without a trip to the facilities, so I wasn’t too excited about this. But we were assured that the bathroom was just a few steps outside. Joy.
That turned out to be true. The Roadhouse was charming, the cabin was too, and the bathroom situation was passable. Clearly, they put the bathroom needs of Roadhouse guests ahead of the general public, as evidenced by this sign on each bathroom door:
I have never thought it was a great privilege to shower as many times as I liked when I stayed somewhere. And to have a towel provided at no extra charge. But it genuinely is.
And here’s another bit of trivia, the cable tv show Man vs. Food recently came to the town, and to the Roadhouse, to film an Alaska segment. Check it out, it’s pretty cool.
The first activity on our agenda was zip lining, something that I have never done before. Mark and the older kids had done it in Zambia, when we went to Victoria Falls. I opted out that time. This time, however, the whole family signed up.
I have to admit that it was a lot of fun. Even Kate, who was extremely apprehensive about it, ended up having a great time despite her light weight (she had to pull herself across to the end a few times because she didn’t weigh enough to make it all the way across).
Here we are on a platform, waiting for our next zip through the trees. We’re supposed to be pretending to fall off the platform.
Here’s Kyle zipping
This is Sarah flying over the water
I thought the scariest part of the whole experience was crossing over a few bridges like this one. I’d rather be on the zipline than walk on these rickety things.
After zip lining – nine zips through the treetops in total – we headed back to town to eat and then rest up for our next day’s adventures – river rafting and kayaking. Thanks to Groupon.
Here’s my shameless plug – we owe it to Groupon for last weekend. That was what gave us the incentive to travel to Talkeetna. Good deals are a great motivation for trying new things.
We started out the next day at 6:45 a.m., when we were picked up for our journey into Denail’s state park (not to be confused with the national park) for our kayak experience. Sarah and I teamed up in a double kayak, Mark and Kate were in one together, and Kyle was in a single. We had a very experienced guide who lead us around a ten-mile lake where we spotted a loon and a pair of trumpeter swans. And discovered that we had extremely sore arms and shoulders afterwards.
Mark and Kate on the lake
After the kayaks, we took a break for lunch and then began the river rafting segment of our trip. This was not white water rafting but a very easy float down the river. With a very muscled guy doing all of the rowing. Thankfully.
The fully padded and puffy family posing before getting into our raft
We didn’t have the incredibly sunny weather that we’ve had so much of this summer, but at least it didn’t rain during any of our activities. The rafting was fine, we saw some beautiful scenery including several eagles, but it was actually pretty uneventful for the four hours or so that we were on the raft. We all agreed that we want to try white water rafting sometime. Just call us thrill seekers.
All in all, Talkeetna was great fun. Would I go back again? Absolutely.