UPDATE- Friday June 22nd
(Talkeetna and Weather)
Today we had planned today to take a jeep tour (each foursome has their own jeep) which you drive yourself in a group with a guide transmitting descriptions of what you are seeing, laced with poignant and clever (read- humorous) comments. The fires here have gotten pretty  bad however, and although they are not near us, the tour people determined that the trip they plan would take us too close to the fires.  The trip was cancelled.
Instead, we "took a hike" in the Denali State Park (first pix).  Please note that the larger park, the National State Park requires and guide.  They take you through in a bus.  You do the State Park on your own.  It was an interesting drive there (Andy drove).  The sky was so heavy with the smoke from the fires (the nearest one about 50 miles away) that it looked like dusk.  (By my analysis, this is certainly possible since the days are now getting shorter!)  As you can see from the second pix, the lake could hardly be seen due to the significantly reduced visibility caused by the smoke.
Well, I FINALLY made contact with an animal.  Looking back, we didn't see a Polar Bear in Barrow, nor did we see a bear (grizzly, black or any other kind), or even a moose, anywhere.  I DIDN'T EVEN SEE OR MAKE CONTACT WITH A MOSQUITO!  But in the town of Talkeetna I did see my first animal (third pix).  It was very exciting!!
The rest of today was dedicated to rest, and Andy and Angie doing some heavy packing.  Looking back, because of their delay getting off the mountain, they took the mail plane to Anchorage where they rented a car and drove here.  Tomorrow morning they will drop Sharon and I and our baggage at the Talkeetna Airport.  They will then drive back to Anchorage (three hours), drop their car at the Airport and go to Signature Flight Support East, the FBO (Fixed Based Operator) there. They will leave their hiking and climbing gear with them.  Sharon and I will be flying from Talkeetna to Anchorage (about 1 hour).  We will pick up Andy and Angie (and some fuel) and fly about 1 1/2 hours to Homer (south of Anchorage) where we are all staying until Monday morning.  We hope to be able to update the web site from there.
 There is an FAA flight service station at the airport in Talkeetna (as there is at almost every heavily used airport in Alaska) and we checked the weather forecast for tomorrow.  They are expecting some rain, however even if it doesn't rain we will still have to fly with an IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) Flight Plan due to the reduced visibility caused by the fire.  Interesting to note- Alaskan's don't seem to make anything special about the fire, although it is everywhere in the news.  In fact they seem to take almost everything in stride.

If you have been following this journal, you know that Andy and Angie went on their five day hike which got a day longer due to the high winds at the pick up point.  These next four photos are ones that they took during their trek.  Note that they planned this trip carefully however they did NOT go with a guide.  It was just the two of them.  They are quite experienced and had the right equipment however there were no paths to follow.  They navigated by GPS and compass.  The first of these four pictures show them arriving at the pick up point, where they had to stay another day to wait the arrival of the bush plane.  They took many more photos, and I put a few of them on another page.  If you are so inclined to view them, and have the bandwidth, just click here to see more.  I think you will find the pictures interesting, but then again, remember, they are my children!!


Denali State Park


A Lake in the Park


First Encounter with Alaskan Animal!!


Andy & Angie