Tag Archives: National Park

Denali National Park, part 1 of 6

Denali, also known as Mount McKinley, is seen on a rare clear day.

Denali, also known as Mount McKinley, is seen on a rare clear day.

 

For your summer adventure, I recommend visiting one of the United States many great National Parks.  Check out the National Parks website to find parks in your area or just pick one and go.  Prepare to spend some time out of your vehicle.  Many parks offer guided hikes, sometimes off the beaten trail, that can inspire and renew your connection to this earth we call home.  Below is my post from last year about a trip my husband and I took to Denali National Park.  Even if you do not want to spend any time in a tent, I hope my story will encourage you to step off the road and venture into the depths of the parks spirit.

Denali National Park

We packed our backpacks, hoped on a flight to Fairbanks with Alaska Airlines, took a nap in the airport and then grabbed a taxi to the train station where we boarded the Alaska Railway.  At he Alaska Railway Station at Denali National Park we caught a park bus to Riley Creek Campground.

I will be reporting out about this trip in six parts:

To enter the depths of the north side of the park, one must ride a bus.  Camper buses have a few seats removed to accommodate gear and are available to drop backpackers off anywhere along the road and to take other campers to designated campgrounds.  Day hikers and day tourist can take tour buses.

To enter the depths of the north side of the park, one must ride a bus. Camper buses have a few seats removed to accommodate gear and are available to drop backpackers off anywhere along the road and take other campers to designated campgrounds. Day hikers and day tourist can take tour buses.

There are several stops along the road where travels can step out of the bus to take photos and very short hikes.  If you wish to take a longer hike, let your bus driver know so that they can expect you to catch another bus later in the day.

There are several stops along the road where travelers can step out of the bus to take photos and very short hikes. If you wish to take a longer hike, let your bus driver know so that they can expect you to catch another bus later in the day.

The park recently began mining their own gravel for road repairs.  In the center of the Toklat River an excavator fills a large dump truck.  You may need to zoom in to see these vehicles.

The park recently began mining their own gravel for road repairs. In the center of the Toklat River an excavator fills a large dump truck. You may need to zoom in to see these vehicles.

You are encouraged to display park provided bling on your head for your personal photos.

You are encouraged to display park provided bling on your head for your personal photos.

A driver points out some interesting road features as passengers become increasingly appreciative of the right away rules of the two way road.

A driver points out some interesting road features as passengers become increasingly appreciative of the right away rules for the two way road.

Looking east from our campsite at Wonder Lake Campground.

Looking east from our campsite at Wonder Lake Campground.

Alaska is experiencing major climatic change. Wonder Lake is known for rather unpleasant mosquito experiences but my only experience worse than anything in Western Washington was at 12:15 in the morning when I awoke to find Denali glowing pink in the sun set (which never fully set). I almost opened the tent screen to take a good photo but stopped when I realized that the entire screen above me was covered with the creatures. I wanted to watch the mountain in the never ending sun glow but I was anxious to catch the bus to my first Alaska back country experience.