Friday, August 22, 2008

Our Alaska Adventures... Mahay's Riverboat Service

Okay, I'm finally going to start posting about some of the tourist things we've been doing this summer with a few pictures for each one. There will be a ton more pictures on my Myspace page:

So when hubby's brother came up for a visit, we took him to Talkeetna, where supposedly you can see Mt. McKinley on a nice day. There aren't too many of those, so we didn't see the mountains that day. But my parents and aunt and uncle did when they came up for their visit, lucky dogs.

Talkeetna is totally a tourist town. Gift shops and cafes and all kinds of guide services galore. We chose Mahay's Riverboat Service:

They do fishing trips and jetboat adventures. The fishing trips are fairly pricey, but the jetboat trips are affordable, especially if you do the the short one. We chose the middle length one that gave us a ride on three rivers: the Talkeetna, Chulitna, and Susitna. The neat thing is where those three rivers converge, you can still see the difference between the waters because the silt is different colors. One is more green, one is more gray, and one is more tan.

The first thing I would suggest is get there early. The three of us arrived just in the nick and ended up sitting in three different seats, all on the aisle where it's harder to see out the window. Especially if your seatmates are wearing big hats. You can see in the pic that we're at the back of the line.

The next thing I would suggest is get a seat next to the window (see the previous suggestion). This way you can take pictures when the wildlife decides to be photogenic. On our trip we saw several bald eagles perched on logs and one nest with an eaglet in it that only the people with really good zooms on their cameras could see. It was amusing to listen to the tourists ooh and aah. I kept a straight face, though. I'm technically not a resident yet, so I'm almost as touristy as they are at this point!

After traveling around on the rivers for a bit, we stop for a little nature walk that includes several old structures used many years ago when it was much colder in the area. These included big lean-to huts, pits covered in sticks which were used as "refrigerators", and beaver traps. The trap was basically a big log held up by another log and when the beaver chewed on it, the big log would drop on its head.

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There was also a tiny cabin with the floor dug out and an old broken sled next to it. The tall structure was where food and valuables would be kept, away from bears and other inquisitive animals. Trappers would have trap lines that stretched for many miles, maybe even 100, so they'd need these little cabins to warm up and stay in while checking the traps.

After this walk, we clambered back onto the boat and traveled up the river (I forget which one we were on at that time) for about 45 minutes to where all the people staying at the Princess something or other would disembark. There were only the three of us and two other passengers left for the trip back, so the captain (who was very cute, BTW) pulled out the stops and we practically flew back to our starting point. We were going so fast, it felt like a roller coaster ride!

I would definitely recommend this outfit for sightseeing.

Next to come: Fishing out of Whittier in Prince William Sound!

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