Have you ever dreamed of riding a train through some of the most remote and beautiful wilderness in the United States? That’s just what Mike, better known as YouTuber DownieLive, did in this video. In the last of his travel vlog series on train travel, he and a couple of friends rode to North America’s most northern train station in Fairbanks, Alaska. Their experience will have you checking your calendar and ticket prices to plan your trip to Alaska!
A Train Ride Through Alaska
The trip starts in Whittier, Alaska, with a two-and-a-half-hour train ride to Anchorage. Mike and his crew are blown away by the majestic wilderness of America’s last frontier. They can hardly take their eyes away from the windows, drinking in scenes of mountains, canyons, and rivers that have barely changed in centuries. It’s really like a trip back in time. The train goes through a couple of claustrophobic tunnels that are so narrow trains have to take turns going through and slow down to prevent hitting the sides. They see so much on this first brief trip that far exceeds their expectations, it’s hard to imagine how day 2 can beat it.
The second day of travel is a 12-hour ride from Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage, to Fairbanks. This time they ride with Gold Star class tickets on the second floor of a double-decker train with enormous curved viewing windows and outdoor observation decks that offer an unobstructed view of the wilderness. The $400 tickets include 3 meals in a comfortable dining car and 2 alcoholic beverages at their seats. Their route takes them past Denali National Park with a fog-shrouded view of Mt. Denali itself, the largest mountain in North America. The train slows down along the way at scenic points, including a century-old railroad bridge, as well as areas where rockslides are a danger.
The Wildlife They Witness
It takes a sharp eye to spot wildlife in the vast terrain but the guys are excited to see several moose. These are the tallest mammals in North America, standing 6 feet tall from the ground to shoulder. Despite their size, their brown coats camouflage them against a natural backdrop. The best time to spot them is dawn or dusk, so Mike and his friends were fortunate to see these during the day. The menu in the dining car gives them a chance to get even closer to wildlife by trying reindeer sausage for breakfast. Reindeer, also known as caribou, have been a staple of the diet of indigenous peoples of the far north for millennia. After tasting it, the guys could see why, calling it, “Chewy but tasty.”
Overall, Mike says this was one of the best train trips he has ever experienced. “Traveling by train, you never feel rushed, but just relax and appreciate where you are.” His advice: “The only person who’s going to chase your dreams is you. So you’d better get started.”
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