Thursday, October 29, 2009

Denali NP

Sand hill cranes fly in front of Denali as the fog rolls in.

A couple months ago, I heard about the Denali NP lottery and mentioned to Tim that it would be cool buy a slot. "Oh, yeah, I heard about that. It's too late to sign up this year" he told me. A few weeks later he emailed me the winners list-we where on it! So on Sept. 21 Tim, my grandfather, and I were up at 6:00am to drive the 90 or so mile park road into the pristine Alaskan wilderness with Denali looming over.

It was not far into our drive that I learned just how pristine this wilderness is kept! We had pulled over to the side of the road and I disappeared into the brush with my trash bag and toilet paper when a ranger pulled over. And watched me. No privacy here! Then followed me. "umm, mam, did you get it all?" he asked. "Are you sure?" I thought he was going to look in the bag! Jesus, I actually can't think of anything that we leave laying around that would be more natural!

So, quite embarrassed but laughing, I got back in the car and we headed off deeper into the park. Soon we turned a corner, and there she was, Denali looming ahead! We got lucky that day. By 11:00 am the mountains had fogged in and obscured the mountains, but before that we had about an hour and a half to enjoy the views. On the return drive we saw 8 bears, 3 caribou, 1 coyote, numerous mountain sheep including two nice rams close up, a moose, 4 golden eagles, and lots of snow shoe hares. That night it snowed about a foot.

Denali from Petersville

Denali from Eilson visitors center

Hiking above the clouds

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