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After failing our attempt to see a bore tide, it was time to leave Alaska and head to … Alaska. Southern Alaska is purely coastal, and many towns, including the state capitol of Juneau, are reachable only be sea or air. However, there are three towns that have road access from Canada: Haines, Skagway and Hyder.
After Fairbanks and the North Pole, we decided to retrace our steps down the Parks Highway. We learned that the bore tide south of Anchorage in the Turnagain Arm is supposed to be very unique and can be magnificent to see, so we thought we’d head back down and give it a shot.
The bore tide often happens during extreme minus low tides (but isn’t guaranteed). The one in Turnagain arm is one of the largest in the world and the only one bordered by mountains on both sides. The timing looked good as the next several days had promising tides.
We had not seen any significant wildlife on our drive in to Tek, so we were hoping for some on our way out. Despite driving out very slowly (we spent more than an hour driving the 14 miles to the checkpoint at mile 15), we had no luck on the way out either. We booked down for a quick stop at a park store, emptied our tanks, and left the park.
From Denali, we headed up to Fairbanks. After a wet enough week in Denali NP, well, it poured most of our way up to Fairbanks as well. We felt like spoiling ourselves a little and opted for a nice campground on the Chena River, River’s Edge RV Park and Campground for two nights. We got a site near the river with electricity. It was a very nice area. There was also a restaurant on the grounds, Chena’s Alaskan Grill, and the campground sold tickets and provided shuttle to a lot of tourist activities. We took advantage of the restaurant on the first night. It was a lovely meal! And we ordered tickets for The Riverboat Discovery Cruise for the next afternoon.
We took the bus into the park twice in Denali (a benefit of our Tek bus passes). Our first day was scheduled for the day after we arrived (our first full day in the campground). That guaranteed us seats on a specific bus, and we chose the Kantishna bus, which goes all the way to the end of the park road.
There are two kinds of park buses. All the buses are essentially school buses purchased for use in Denali. (Some, perhaps all, were purchased new, but they are still the same kinds of buses used as school buses.) Tan buses are tour buses. You stay with your bus the whole day, get a stock narration, get a box lunch, and pay about four times more than for a transit bus ($218 for Kantishna tour, $60 for Kantishna transit bus, and $40 for our Tek pass which included Kantishna transit reservations and unlimited space-available use after that).