soon as we realized how lucky we were to have such clear skies,
we decided to check into one of the local small plane flightseeing
tours for a closer look at the "high one." That's what
the name Denali means in the native Athabascan language. One of
the controversies that still rage over the Americanization of Alaska
is the re-naming of the ancient people's monument after one of our
more obscure presidents. Although most of the "lower 48"
is more familiar with the name "Mt. McKinley" for North
America's tallest mountain (20,320 feet), he is more often simply
called "Denali" here. The meaning and the sound of the
name itself seems more fitting for such a king, so that's how I
greet him, also.
weren't sure we could afford such a tour, but stopped into a local
booking agent whose sign advertised flightseeing. The owner was
on the phone bitching at the propane company over charging her a
$7.00 late fee. She explained that this was her business and $7.00
was "a lot of money" to her. We waited for 10 minutes
while we looked at brochures, but finally picked up some and left.
As we pulled out of the driveway, she was on the porch waving us
back, but it was too late as far as we were concerned. We thought
it ironic that her lack of customer service cost her many times
over the $7.00 she was so intent on recouping instead of booking
our tour for the commission she could have earned.
went down the street to another agent and she told us the least
expensive flight was with Talkeetna Aero. We had gotten one of their
brochures from the first stop that listed the price of touring the
southern side only at $115.00. It was apparently an older brochure,
because the new ones had the price listed as $145.00 for the same
tour. However, when the agent called the company, they agreed to
honor the reduced cost of the brochure we had picked up from the
lady who lost our business over $7.00. We found that additional
irony even more amusing.
luck got even better when our flight time arrived and because of
road construction and delays, some flights were delayed and combined
in different ways. We wound up in a twin engine plane with 4 other
people who had paid for the much more expensive and longer summit
trip and we got to go along for the ride. We got the back seats,
which afforded the better view since the wings did not obstruct
anything as you looked down and out.