Monday, July 23, 2007

Denali National Park

Denail National Park
On June 29th, Mom, Angie, Brian and I set out for Denali National Park. I made a reservation for a Wonder Lake campsite in early March, to ensure that we would have somewhere to stay. We drove about 2 hours Friday night and camped at Troublesome Creek in Denali state park. We took a short hike (about 1/2 mile) complete with beers. This was my first hike where I was actually drinking a beer while hiking. Ya have to try new things, right?

It was pretty rainy the whole weekend. We drove the rest of the way to Denali on Saturday and then took the 6 hour camper bus ride out to Wonder Lake. This was a great time for me. The only responsibility I had was to sit on a bus, relax and enjoy the great scenery of the park. There is rarely I time that I get to sit and do nothing, and as far as I was concerned this was perfect. I think the 6 hour bus ride took a toll on the others.. it started out good, lauging, looking at wildflowers, searching for bears... but I think I may have heard some whining towards the end. :)

We didn't see one bear on the way out to he lake. Actually we saw no wildlife, except for a squirrel. Denali is funny like that. There is so much wildlife in the park, but it is so vast that you are not guaranteed to see any of them. There is only one road that goes into the park and you can't drive on it. The only vehicles allowed into the park are the tourist buses. Think about it, if you were a bear with 6 million acres to roam, would you hang out by the road?

The other attraction in the park is Mt. McKinley. The peak that rises over 20,000 feet in the middle of the Alaska range. It's known as Denali to Alaskans, because this was the original name given to it by the native Athabascan people. The problem is, so many people come to see this mountain that only shows itself 1 out of 10 days. So if you only spend one day in the park, you have a 10% chance of actually seeing the whole mountain. Most people just see pieces of it. We couldn't see Denali at all the first day, but the second day, I had been up all night reading a book, and peaked out of the tent at 5am. We could see most of the mountain for about 30 minutes.

Monday morning we packed up and after fighting for seats on a crowded bus, with some smelly climbers that had been on Denali for a month, we took the bus ride back to the park entrance. The group of climbers were with NOLS (North American Outdoor Leadership School). I was secretly envying these people who had just spent 30 days on the mountain, sleeping in snow caves, eating dried foods, and not having showered for a month. The bus ride back was a bit more fruitful as we saw 3 grizzly bears, a bunch of Caribou, a mama Moose with 3 babies, and some ducks.

On the drive up, Brian had been talking about trying to catch a king salmon on the way back. To make a long story short we stopped at Montana creek and within 45 minutes he had caught his first King! We celebrated by having a BBQ with a few friends and cooked it up on the grill. It was the most delicious piece of fish I have ever eaten.

Okay click on the album above to view pictures.. my cat is whining to go outside right now, so I gotta go!

No comments: