Alaska Scenes

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Store in Talkeetna 

Talkeetna, Alaska

Talkeetna, roughly midway between Anchorage and the entrance to Denali National Park, is a town of about 500 that swells in size from April through July as mountain climbers gather to prepare for their assaults on Mount McKinley. Downtown Talkeetna signThey are flown from Talkeetna on ski planes to base camp, a large tent community on a glacier about 7,000 feet above sea level. They then face a 13,000-foot climb to McKinley's south summit, 20,320 feet above sea level.

Although Talkeetna is 90 miles away from McKinley, visitors may get as good views of it from an overlook on the road approaching Talkeetna as they would from within Denali National Park. The park entrance is no closer than isTalkeetna to McKinley's summit, and the closest road approach within the park is about 30 miles from the peak. Moreover, McKinley is often shrouded in clouds and many visitors to the park never get a glimpse of it while there.

Downtown Talkeetna is about as small and as informal as the sign across the street from the town park suggests (much of downtown is visible in the photo at the top of this page). Talkeetna is a 14-mile side trip down the Talkeetna Spur Road from the Parks Highway. It boasts restaurants, gift shops and lodging, as well as picnic tables in the park.

Talkeetna's Winter Fest attracts attention in December. Its highlights include the Bachelor Society Ball and the Wilderness Woman Contest. Talent is essential to winning the Wilderness Woman Contest, and the talents required are unusual: the ones that would be necessary for survival in the wilderness.

Moose Dropping Festival

Talkeetna hosts several unusual events during the year, but word that it has a Moose Dropping Festival stirred some folks up a few years ago.

They had visions of moose being dropped out of planes and they didn't see any fun in that.

The protests quickly died, however, when it was discovered that what was being thrown was the droppings of moose.

If you'd like to attend the Moose Dropping Festival, it's the second Saturday in July.

Moose droppings -- brown pellets about 3/4" of an inch in length (an estimate, not a measurement) -- are also shellacked and sold as novelty items -- from earrings to Christmas tree ornaments -- in gift shops throughout the state. They're just the thing for folks who insist on organic products.