July 21, 2012

Healy, Alaska

Leah and I headed North to Healy, Alaska, with some friends to celebrate the summer solstice. Although the solstice occurred on a Thursday, many of the solstice celebrations took place the following weekend. We both had always wanted to visit Healy and figured visiting the community that rests only ten miles north of Denali National Park during the Denali Solstice Fest was the perfect time to get a glimpse of the town. 

With just under 1000 year-round residents, Healy is the stomping ground for staff who work in Denali Park during the summer months. 

Our good friend allowed us to drive her family's RV to Healy, which was a big bonus to the trip. 

After we found a spot to park the camper (our reserved site was stolen by other campers) and organized our belongings in the inside of the camper, it was a great feeling knowing that we didn't have to set up a tent or contemplate weather conditions, especially because it was almost midnight when we pulled into the campsite. We took a quick walk around the campsite and then called it a night.

The following morning brought some very sunny skies; however, they didn't last past Noon and by the time we were ready to cook a late lunch, it began to rain. We decided to forgo the homemade meal over the fire and walk to the 49th State Brewing Company for a late lunch/early dinner. Although campfire meals can be delicious, we thought it was a better idea to eat where we were dry. :)

The 49th State Brewing Company is one of the newer breweries in Alaska and is owned and operated by locals, which is pretty rare around the Denali Park area as most restaurants and lodging accommodations are owned by corporate companies.

We ordered a few appetizers and, of course, enjoyed a brew. 

After we were done eating, the sun came back out and presented us with a nice evening of conversation and music.  

Healy is "home" to the Fairbanks City Transit bus that was in the movie "Into the Wild." The bus that McCandless took his picture by is actually 20 miles away from Healy. The route to the "magic bus" can be very dangerous as it includes walking through mosquito infested tundra and crossing the Teklanika River. Anyone who heads out to the real bus is advised to use a guide and check in with the park service because the route is so traitorous. The movie bus was brought to the 49th State Brewery in 2011 after a 22-year old Swiss girl drowned on her way to the real bus.  

While listening to the music, we enjoyed taking pictures around the infamous bus...

The line up for the music festival was just okay; however, we agreed that the adventure and atmosphere made up for the lacking music.

After a quick breakfast Sunday morning, we headed back to Anchorage with great memories of Healy, Alaska.