Denali National Park

Denali National Park is always open to the public. But during the wintertime, the road is closed past mile 3 to car travel.

This is the Nenana river at the entrance to Denali. It’s a launching point for rafting. All the stores at the entrance to the park were closed.

This is mile 3. The sunrise looks similar to a sunset. I left my car and started hiking up the road.

Do you see the poop.., lower right corner of the picture.

In the wintertime, the park is frequented by skiers, snowshoers, dog sledders, hikers, and sometimes…,

BEARS! This is a paw print if you can’t see it.

The ranger said it was unusually warm this winter so the bears were out a little longer than usual. It was unusually warm inside the park today. It was 0 degrees in Healy. But inside the park I had to take off my gloves and jacket when hiking up the road.

At about mile 8, it started getting colder and windy.

I’m a wimp. At mile 9, I decided I had enough. I unpacked my stove and made some lunch.

Beef stroganoff, yummmmm! The worst part of the ordeal was waiting for the water to boil and waiting 8 minutes for the food to hydrate. My apple was frozen solid. It would take forever to thaw. oh well, sigh!

I sat in the middle of the road. There was no sound except for the roaring flame from my PCS. It was quiet and bone chilling cold. The quiet was almost deafeningly loud and overwhelming. I know this place well.

As I sit here, I ask myself why did I come here and how did I get here. What I hold in my mind has a big influence on how I perceive everything that I experience. It also, in a subtle way, influences how I behave.

My water bottle had a small ice berg floating in it. Here’s the view I had during my lunch break.

On my way back down, I ran into a girl from Seattle. She was walking one of the sled dogs that live in the park thanks to tax payer dollars. They’re probably part of a rescue team stationed in the park just in case. She was on her way up while I was heading down, but she caught up with me eventually because I was playing in the drainage ditch.

I was trying to slide down the ice but it was too slippery and I didn’t want to crack my skull.

It was nice not to have a crowd of people or tour busses and cars passing me. It was tranquil.

Goodbye Denali.