The more I travel, the more I love my hometown— Albuquerque, New Mexico. And this has inspired me to start this series, the hometown series. I will be interviewing people from around the world and asking them about their personal connections to their hometowns.
A Local’s Guide to Talkeetna, Alaska | with Abby
Meet my friend, Abigail Borge. We met freshman year in the dorms at Fort Lewis College, in Colorado. And truly, we've been inseparable ever since. Most recently, she was one of my bridesmaids at our wedding in Mexico.
We have an extremely close bond, and she's close to everyone in my family. My sister Rachel recently moved to Anchorage to work for the CDC and I'm thankful Abby is close by.
Abby is an Alaska expert! In the summertime, she hosts river tours under the shadow of Mt. Denali at Mayhay's Jet Boat Adventures. If you're ever headed to AK for vacation, message Abby first!
of Talkeetna, Alaska
"Hi, I'm Abby! I was born and raised in the small town of Talkeetna with 800 people in the interior of Alaska. I was homeschooled until third grade and then met my class of 24 students, who I later graduated high school with.
I decided to get out of the small-town life and head south to Durango, Colorado for college and I am so lucky to have found and built my Southwest family who I miss every day now that I am back in Alaska. I graduated with my Environmental Studies degree and a minor in Sociology.
I hope to use both of those to help Alaska's rich resources survive in a more sustainable way. I really don't go anywhere without Andie, my dog. She's my sidekick in most of my travels and adventures!
Fun Fact?! I was apart of the 'Moose Club' in high school. We would stay after school and process and package moose that had been hit on the highway and donate the meat to the food bank."
Talkeetna is most known for its proximity to Denali. Denali is the tallest peak in North America (20,310 ft) and is the first stop for climbers that wish to make an attempt. We also have an incredible view of the whole Alaska Mountain Range that stretches out 500 miles north of town.
The Dena'ina Athabaskans are indigenous people that lived here in the Susitna Valley and resided along the three rivers that merge in town. They gave Denali its name, which means 'Tall Mountain'.
The general vibe of Talkeetna is pretty laid back. At least in the fall and winter seasons. In my lifetime it has developed into quite the tourist destination with many new businesses offering a larger variety of activities for tourists to choose from.
What do you miss the most when you're not there?
My family and friends. When I moved away, two thousand miles felt pretty far sometimes. But I can now say that about the Southwest, I'm back in Alaska and miss it when I'm gone. I read this somewhere and it sums up my adult life:
"You will never be completely at home again because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place."
The Best Place to Hangout
My favorite place to hang out is at the river, or at the lake my grandparents homesteaded on. Or any place that has a view of the mountains! Most of my friends thrive if they're outdoors: rafting, climbing, hiking, or fishing.
Lots of people come to have Alaskan salmon. I'd say that's the most sought after food for visitors. But if you're in Talkeetna you'll have to visit the historic bar in town. The Fairview.
Things to Do in Talkeetna, Alaska for First-Timers
Definitely the river! Whether it is on a raft, kayak, or boat, get on or near the rivers especially during summertime.
"Where else can you walk to the end of Main Street and find yourself at the confluence of three wild rivers, overlooking a 20,000-foot peak? Close to downtown, this large, river-centered park offers wide open, untouched spaces, along with a great panoramic view of the Alaska Range.
Come here to see the mingling of 3 swift glacial rivers: the Talkeetna, Susitna, and Chulitna join to form the 'Big Susitna River.' Walk right to water's edge, or just take a romantic stroll on the gravelly, scenic sand bars. You might see people enjoying a campfire while sitting on huge, fallen cottonwood trees; rafters floating by after a day on the river, or jet boat drivers speeding by in the broad expanse of water.
Come by in the early morning to witness the crimson alpenglow on the mountain, or in the evening when the sky glows orange behind Denali (Mt. McKinley), Foraker, and Hunter. Walk a full loop around town by strolling downstream, along the Susitna River, until you come to the end of the village airstrip.
Then walk up D Street, which will bring you right back to Main Street. Be aware that the trail is unimproved and you may encounter campers along the route. In the winter, people come here for snowshoeing, skiing, dog mushing, and snow machining."
Most Instagrammable Spots
This question made me laugh out loud Lindley! Just the other day at work we realized the younger coworkers didn't know what a 'Kodak Moment' was. I guess now it's an 'Instagrammable Moment'.
But honestly, it's anywhere you can see the mountains. And if you're there in the winter the northern lights can be incredible.
I mostly talked about summer visits but wintertime visits are often overlooked. Talkeetna weather is chilly in winter, but it is equally as beautiful. A totally different experience than a summertime visit.
The best time to visit Alaska depends on the kind of activities you’d like to do, summer is great for river fun, salmon runs, whale watching, and hiking. Winter is great for seeing the snowcaps, the Iditarod dog race, seeing the Northern lights, skiing, and snow machining.
People of Talkeetna
Some of the most fun, genuine, crazy, creative, and incredible people I've ever met are in Talkeetna. Some I have known my whole life and some I have met after high school. Talkeetna collects people from all over that are captivated by the wild rivers and mountains.
Lindley and Alaska
I have actually yet to visit Abby! And I know Talkeetna is among the best small towns to visit in Alaska. She typically hangs out with me here in the Southwest. We had a trip planned for this summer, but COVID happened sadly!
So I plan to go up and get my own photos of the gorgeous river and Mt. Denali as soon as I can! Anchorage to Talkeetna is about a two-hour drive, and I plan to visit Abby and my sister.
I've been to Alaska three or four times, but I've never ventured to this little gem, it's high up on my list. Thanks, Abby for the lovely photos!
Have you been to Talkeetna? Comment below!