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Day 32 – Denali National Park – Day 2

August 10, 2017

As mentioned, I was non-plussed on my first day in Denali National Park that Denali itself was obscured by cloud cover the entire day.  My flightseeing tour on Day 2 more than made up for that.

After my 8am flight was rescheduled for 3pm, I mostly ate and napped to kill the time between.

When I got back to the airstrip just before 3:00, the weather had indeed cleared up and the flight was still on. Unfortunately, the glacier landing zones where still fogged over, or “socked in” in pilot speak, so the glacier landing was ruled out. Bummer.  They did give a $100 discount for the change.

Even without a glacier landing, the flight was still pretty spectacular.  The flight plan went through the park, mostly over the road I’d struggled with for much of the previous day, and into the heart of the Alaskan Range, getting within a quarter mile of Denali, which with a mountain that size, is kissing distance.

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One of Fly Denali’s several planes.

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I think because I weighed about the same as the pilot, I lucked out and got the copilot’s seat, giving me probably the best view. I also got to look at lots of buttons and dials and things:

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After a preflight safety talk and a lot of jokes the pilot somehow made sound fresh even though I’m sure he’s told them hundreds of times before (Example: “If during the flight, the turbulence gets too intense or you just feel really nervous, let me know. At that point, I’ll stop flying upside down.”), we took off…

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…and headed towards the park.

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Denali, at over 20,000 feet, the tallest mountain in North America. Still something like 30 miles away in this photo.

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All too soon, the pilot turned the plan back towards the airstrip.

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I’m not sure that $400 for two hours of anything is exactly “worth the money”, but I have no regrets.

Random Financial Planning Thought:  Speaking of “worth the money”, with the 1st of the month coming along, I had to pay my credit card bill, which meant looking at my account balances.  I knew I’ve been spending more on this trip than I’d really planned on, mostly because I’ve been spending more time in hotels than I’d planned and the hotels have been more expensive than I’d anticipated, so I expected some sticker shock at what I’ve spent so far.

So I braced myself, logged into my online banking account, and… Oh. My. God.

I’ve come up with a new strategy for dealing with my finances.  Don’t look at them, and don’t think about them.  If I can’t see them, they can’t see me, and what I don’t know can’t hurt me.

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