We boarded the Denali Star in Fairbanks, Alaska and rode the train south to Wasilla passing through the Denali National Park. There were two dome cars on this train. Most of my time on the train was spent in these domes. I also spent time riding in the vestibules between the cars looking out at the scenery with the wind blowing in my face and no window glass separating me from the natural beauty of Alaska as it passed. From this vantage point I was able to see some beavers waving their tails at me as the train passed through Honolulu. While riding in the domes I saw some moose poking about in their habitat.
On the way to Wasilla one of our trip guides was chasing the train while driving one our vans to Wasilla. There were other people chasing the train this day as well. At one point the onboard tour guide, a high school girl, made the comment "There they are again" referring to the folks chasing the train. Upon hearing her comment I announced to her and the others in the dome that these people were chasing the train and explained the concept of chasing a train. I said that my group had done the same thing a few days earlier. I went on to tell everyone in the dome that one of the people chasing the train was part of our group and that there was a contest in the group to see how many times the guide could be seen photographing the train. After my explanation the people in the dome understood the concept of train chasing, but had no idea why anyone would do it. There were a number of crossings where the others in the dome car would look for my tour guide and call out when they saw him. Maybe some of the riders in the dome car will become railfans and chase trains.
We arrived at the Wasilla train station at 6 PM where the two vans and tour guides were waiting to take us to the hotel on the shore of Lake Lucille. The lake was beautiful. The hotel grounds were beautiful.I took photographs of the lake and surrounding mountains from the lake shore shortly after checking in to the hotel. After shooting these photos I had dinner with my roommate in the hotel restaurant. We were seated at a table overlooking the lake and watched as the sun traveled across the tops of the mountains. It was a delightful Mother Natured produced movie. After dinner I went back to our room and sat on the balcony overlooking the lake. At 11:30 as I was getting ready to go to bed there was a person waterski-ing on the lake. Watersking at 11:30 at night in the land of the midnight sun.
Inside the dome cars on the Alaska Railroad Denali Star train
The train station in Nenana
The Wasilla train station and Lake Lucille. The photos can't display the true beauty of the sunlight illuminating the the mountains
as the light passed across the peaks.
All photos copyright © 2004,2006 John Simakauskas