25 July 2008

June 30 - Denali National Park, AK

Shortly before we arrived in Denali, two hikers went missing in the park for ~a week. My MIL was panic stricken that BH and I would encounter the same fate. But, looking back on it now ... how can someone get lost in this?

Newsminer Article

Anchorage Daily Article

We were only a couple of miles from where these two lost their way, and I'm sure the terrain isn't all that different. Map of Entrance Area Hiking Trails

Our first day we walked all or part of the: Rock Creek Trail, Meadow View Trail, Roadside Trail, McKinley Station Trail, Bike Path, and red (Jones) short cut trail to get back to our hotel located just east across the Nenana River.

- a cold, restless night spent on an old mattress ... still need a heater for these frosty mornings
- granola for breakfast, and slowly prepping for the day: mosquito repellent, food, water, sunscreen, maps
- walk down to park and watch rafters on the Nenana River
- walk to Wilderness Access Center which is such a disappointment ... kinda like the park itself ... this is not the trip of a lifetime for us
- we walk toward the Denali Visitor Center with plans to buy our seven day pass and catch the bus to the dog sled demo
- we just aren't dry forest types, we enjoyed Olympic National Forest so much better
- along the path we are surprised by a Moose cow who steps directly out in front of us, we back away slowly, get some great photos, and watch while she browses and ambles along ... she has a very gentle temperament and we do our best not to startle her
- I had been taking photos of wildflowers and did not see the little lady standing there, we figure she may have been a yearling, maybe two at the most ... she's still pretty gangly
- pay our entrance fee (nobody checks), and get on a shuttle bus for sled dogs - they are doing what dogs do best - sleeping ... they act like this is extreme summer, but it is in the 50s (10-15 C), the demo is interesting to watch, but the Libby Riddles talk covered much of the same info ... they don't load the dogs with much more than 50 lbs (22.68 Kg) a piece ... about what the individual dogs weigh ... and the Denali teams run approx 3K miles (4,800 Km) each winter
- we walked: Crow's Nest to Wilderness Access 1 mile, to the Visitor's center .75 miles, took bus to dog kennels, Rock Creek Trail 1.75 miles, Meadowview Trail .3 miles, McKinley Station Trail 1.3 miles, and 1.5 mile back to crow's nest ... approx 6.6 miles (10.56 km) plus extra for back tracking and off trail walking
- about one hour after we got in, the rain begins coming down, and it starts coming down pretty hard
- BH says that Denali must have a bunch of visitors because of the amount of prep they do with the trails

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