Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Alaska bits--10--What is Talkeetna?

The day after our Turnagain Arm excursion (along the Seward Highway--Alaska 2)we traveled up the Glenn Highway (Alaska 1) which parallels Knik Arm, crossing the Knik River, and traveling through Wasilla (Sarah wasn't home) on The Parks Highway (Alaska 3) to Talkeetna. In those two days of driving we had traveled three of Alaska's four main Highways. (Highway 4 crosses from Fairbanks into the Yukon Territory of Canada, the only road connection to the "Outside" or Lower 48.)

So what is Talkeetna?

Well, perhaps Talkeetna is the old sourdough artist creating and selling on the street.   

Or it is a well visited small town completely devoid of the tourist trap jewelry stores that are seen on the streets of cruise port cities.

It is the gateway to Denali, where bush pilots ferry climbers to base camps on the glaciered peak.

Where you can walk down to the river and look out at the mountain itself. or not.

It's a town with pride in its history and ready to share it in its historic walk and museums and its position as the gateway of its mountain neighbor.

Where locals have other uses for the river than watching the mountain.

And homemade ice cream
 is done with a John Deere.

And if you hear a band playing
"When the Saints Go Marching In",
 and see a parade on Labor day
 that looks more like
Mardi Gras,
and you are in Talkeetna...

...then know that it is not a Labor Day parade at all, but the funeral procession celebrating the life of a beloved local killed in a tragic accident a few days before.

That is what Talkeetna is.

It's what Alaska is.


PERBS said...

A funeral procession! Wow! Definitely unique for a tourist. . . I think it is a wonderful way to celebrate the life that was lost.

Yolanda said...

Loved your photos .

Martha Z said...

Another great post!

Lew said...

And Talkeetna is the site of a satellite communications station. I am enjoying your tour of Alaska.