Talkeetna, Alaska is the gateway to Denali. If you are going to climb Denali, this is where you start from. You will hire a flying service to take you and your gear up to about 7,000 feet and land on a glacier to drop you off. And before you do that, you are probably going to have breakfast at Talkeetna Roadhouse.
|We visited on a cold, rainy morning. I think most mornings are like that in Talkeetna.|
Perhaps more than any other place I've ever eaten, Talkeetna Roadhouse exudes attitude. It has family style seating, so don't be shy. If someone finishes eating it is first one to the table. No such thing as waiting in line. I think Darwin ate here after visiting the Galapagos Islands. It is where he got the idea of "survival of the fittest." We sat in somewhat of a waiting room for awhile before getting the idea that we weren't getting any closer to finding a seat. We had to be aggressive.
|Looking from the waiting room into the main dining room.|
|An overflow dining room - showers are at the end of the hall.|
|A pastry counter, with some other odds n' ends. There is also some limited seating in this room.|
However, the waiting room was fun. It was full of banners, photos, certificates, newspaper clippings, paintings, etc. celebrating the connection between Talkeetna and Denali. Kind of like the Mt. Whitney store at Whitney Portal, on steroids. The building is old, it looks like it was built in sections over the years. It has showers at the back, presumably for those coming back after three weeks climbing Denali. It has overflow dining. We first looked at sitting there, but got no attention. When we finished it was full of people. I guess you just have to yell and make a fuss to get someone's attention. Or perhaps pay a bribe - that's probably it.
|A painting of Denali, a scene we did not get to see, and not many guests do. But we did get to see part of it a few days later.|
|This is the view we got a few days later. We saw the lower mountains, but the big guys were still covered by clouds.|
|These tidbits on the wall were fascinating. A Korean Seven Summits Expedition flag (Denali is one of the seven summits, the highest summit in North America). An Italian expedition flag. Photos on Denali with dogsleds.|
The food was designed for mountain climbers. We each happened to have sourdough hotcakes that were bigger than the plate, with added blueberries and maple syrup. They had other amazing looking dishes that were huge and calorie laden, but I could not pass on those incredible looking pancakes. I also had to have a side order of reindeer sausage, of course. I can't pass that up. It was spicy and actually pretty good. I also had hot chocolate and orange juice.
|Hot chocolate and orange juice.|
|A monstrous blueberry pancake.|
|Three links of reindeer sausage.|
Our fellow table guests were from all over the globe - and from Talkeetna. Sitting right across from us were two pilots for K2 Aviation who fly climbers and tourists up to and around Denali.
After breakfast we addled up to a pastry counter and oggled some nice, substantial looking pastries. We got a few things, I don't remember what they were.
Talkeetna Roadhouse was an experience. If we ever come back to this part of the world, this place will be in the list. I'm having some of that other great looking breakfast food we didn't try. And I'm going to have an appetite and an attitude.