One of the best parts about my job (if one could call it a job, but that sure sounds better, eh?) is the people I meet and the places our family is able to visit.
Thursday, Yukon left the office early after a crazy week of VA moving and confab-ing, and we packed bikes and people for the 2.5 hour drive north to the McKinley Princess Lodge at the invitation of yes, the Princess Tour people. McK Princess is located near Trapper Creek, Alaska, and is one of the main lodgings Princess owns for access to and views of, Denali, "the Great One".
I'll admit I was somewhat skeptical of the property's ability to wow a family who actually lives in the 49th state and can often view Denali from Anchorage. Likewise with respect to the actual lodging; we've seen tour company hotel/motel/lodge style accommodations before, and were prepared for fake log buildings, mass-prepared food, and condescending staff.
Warmly welcomed by Manager D., who, I found out, is a graduate from my college alma mater and the epitome of how the manager of a 300+ mostly-older-people facility should act, AK Fam was given the best suite in the house in full view of Denali. Not only that, but staff had prepared a welcome fruit/cheese plate and given Bear a backpack full of kid-friendly goodies. Not bad for a place whose child-occupancy is something like 3% (that's why we went, btw, to review and rate).
With weather in the mid 70's, even during the long evening hours, we somehow found ourselves immersed in the beautiful surroundings, enjoying the pleasant company of visitors who were told "not to expect to see the mountain" (chances in May of viewing Denali range from seldom to never) and thus were awestruck and sometimes speechless. We hiked, we ate, we slept in, we took a jet boat ride; and all through it were delightfully pampered by Manager D and his staff.
Not only that, but Yukon took a ride around the property with D, looking at the way Princess is supporting its employees with housing, off-duty recreation, etc. The two hit it off tremendously, and we didn't leave today without planning another trip in August on our way to Fairbanks.
Only downside is that I lost my voice somehow along the way. Nobody here seems to be complaining, however.