19 Aug 2006 Saturday

It’s STILL RAINING!!  We went into Palmer for breakfast.  As we gotcloser to town, the sky began to peek out from the clouds.  We stopped andphotographed the few mountain tops we could see.  The clouds quickly closedin, but it stopped raining for a minute.  We found aplace in Palmer for breakfast with reindeer sausage.  

Next we headed for The Musk Ox Farm.  Itstopped raining long enough for us for the short tour. The Musk Ox Farm in MatanuskaValley, AK is the only domestic musk ox farm in the world.  The musk ox washunted into extinction in Alaska and Canada in the 1800’s.  They werecaptured and brought in from Finland and Norway and domesticated for thisfarm.  The farm combs out the underwool that they shed in the spring. The wool is spun into thread and sent to the villages where the native womenknit beautiful scarves and hats from it in local tribal patterns.  The wool is warmer than sheep’swool and softer than cashmere. The products are beautiful and the proceedscreate income for the subsistence lifestyle that many natives here are stillpracticing.  We spoke to someone at the farm that said that Hatcher PassRoad was closed today due to flooding.  We’re glad we changed our planslast night!

We moved on to Talkeetna and it’s still raining.  Along the way we sawevidence of flooding, rivers and stream outside their banks, some side roadscompletely under water and cars pulled off, residents trying to figure out howthey are getting home.  We got into the tiny town of Talkeetna and foundmore flooding.  The river in town is lined with sandbags.  We werecalling places to find a room for the night and one hotel clerk told us that thebridge heading to Denali was damaged by flooding and closed.  We can’t getto Denali!!  We’ve decided that Alaska doesn’t want us here, so we’ll headout tomorrow, after we visit with Barak and Kim tonight.  We found a roomat the Latitude 62 Degrees Motel and Restaurant.  After dinner, we got amessage from Barak… he’s stuck on the other side of the bridge!  Wearen’t going to see him either!  

This weather stinks!!!  We’ve got toget out of here… if we can.  We’ve heard that they may be closing part of the GlennHighway, the road we got here on, due to flooding and mudslides.  That’sthe only other road out of this area.  If we find that road closed, we’llhave to take a ferry out of Whittier to Valdez and drive north from there. We’ll just have to come back to Alaska another time, this is not a good time tobe here.

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