Posting vignettes based on great postcards found in my mail box and elsewhere.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Birchwood Postcard

This week the Ken Burns historical documentary on the U.S. National Parks is being broadcast on the Public Broadcasting Network, so I thought I would present this wooden postcard to remind people what a wonderful resource we have in the national parks. I also thought I might offer a note of caution to prevent my readers from getting burned while visiting the parks. Whether shopping, booking your bus tour or making lodging reservations, you need to pay close attention to details.

When I was a very small boy, my father used to remind me each time I walked out the door not to take any wooden nickels. At the time, I took that to mean don’t accept anything fake, including raw deals from shysters, overpriced goods from unscrupulous merchants or BS from friends or acquaintances. I still heed his advice and thought about it when I saw wooden postcards for sale this summer.

I have postcards made of tin, copper and cedar but did not have a birch wood postcard. Midway through summer, I saw some on a rack in one of the many tourist traps along what it known by locals as “Glitter gulch,” located just outside the entrance to Denali National Park. Though there are no glitter from lights or fancy architecture, the shops along the boardwalk-lined, rustic, boomtownesque, commercial village always advertise season ending sales in the midst of the tourist season, so I waited for the authentic 50 percent off sale, the second week in September, to pick up my cards. As a local, I do not like to pay tourist prices (wooden nickels). OK, I admit I am a cheap skate but my grandmother, who grew up during the terrible depression of the 1930's and fed my early appetite for postcards, would be proud of my savvy shopping skills.

This birch wood postcard is very well done and sports an image on canvas which is glued on the wood. The style and name of Mt. McKinley National Park show that it is a reproduction of an historic painted postcard. (The park's name was changed to Denali National Park in 1980.) The color contrast of the composition gives the white mountain, which is intended to represent Mt. McKinley, an almost three dimensional effect. Yet the image combined with the words take some poetic license. I do not mean to sound like the artistic police here but there are no tourist cabins in such close quarters to Mt. McKinley. In other words, if you see the card and think you can stay in a cabin so close to the "great one" you will have accepted a wooden nickel.

Perhaps the source of inspiration for this image are the cozy cabins at the Camp Denali & Northface Lodge located in the Denali National Park Wilderness Preserve in Kantishna, still some 30 miles from the mountain. The rustic yet elegant cabins (for which you will pay more than 4 c-notes a night) enjoys a spectacular view of the Alaska Range and Mt. McKinley's northface. Along with the Kantishina Roadhouse, Denali Northcountry Lodge, and the Aramark/Doyan Joint Ventures, Camp Denali & the Northface Lodge is one of a handful of authorized concessionaires that offer wilderness accommodations and transportation in and around Denali National Park.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for send me postcard from Alaska ! I love it so much !!!