Talkeetna lies at the end of a spur road near Mile 99 of the Parks Highway. The town maintains a Wild West vibe with a small, unpaved downtown area surrounding a central green. Lucky is the traveler who gets a few sunny days—Denali looms distantly over the town. Mountaineers congregate here to begin their assaults on Denali in Denali National Park; those just off the mountain are recognizable by their tanned faces with white "raccoon eyes" resulting from their sunglasses. The Denali mountain rangers have their climbing headquarters here, as do most glacier pilots who fly climbing parties to the mountain. A carved pole at the town cemetery honors deceased mountaineers.
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