We took the Jeep for an outing today. When we turned onto the road to Talkeetna we found ourselves in the middle of a hand-cycle race. Each racer was followed by a support vehicle or two with their 4-way flashers on and we were able to pass when traffic allowed. We saw about 10 racers.
Talkeetna, population around 876, is an historic Alaskan town at the confluence of three rivers, a supply hub for prospectors and mountaineers. Today it’s a destination for tourists. Mountaineering, flightseeing, fishing, hunting, hiking, skiing, and rafting companies have little shops there as well as restaurants, gift and artisan shops.
It rained lightly while we were there and there were not many tourists. We had lunch at West Rib Pub & Grill while it rained. Good food. There was a poster outside promoting their 5-pound burger that had been featured on The Travel Channel’s Man v Food program. The price for that burger is around $32. That is not what we ate.
After the rain we walked around a bit and visited the shops. On our way out of town we met no less than 10, yes, I said ten, tour busses heading into that little town. It’s gonna get busy there.
On the way home we passed a little shop with a sign out front that said it had Birch Syrup. That sounded interesting to us, we’re always up for a new experience, so we stopped in. Birch syrup has a unique flavor, very different from the maple syrup we are used to. It has a more woodsy molasses like flavor and naturally sweet like maple syrup. The lady inside offered free samples and a tour. Birch syrup is quite rare. This facility produced about 1,500 out of the 1,700 gallons produced in Alaska in 2013. And there is no significant production of birch syrup anywhere else in the world at this time. Check them out at www.alaskabirchsyrup.com
And then we stopped by at the annual Trapper Creek Fireweed Festival before going home. Small town and small festival. But it was nice, with craft and food vendors, live music, and a community fire pit where they were roasting hot dogs, or perhaps it was reindeer sausage.