May 2012 Denali National Park
In my travels for work, Alaska is a once-a-quarter visit and for the most part the weather is on the challenged side. However, close to the summer months the conditions get to a bearable equilibrium when the land slowly reveals itself from its winter sleep before the masses invade. This past year, May was the perfect opportunity to get Betsey up to the last frontier and to one of the crown jewels of the National Park system in the United States.
Denali park is over 6 million acres, which includes the national park enjoined with a national preserve and a designated wilderness area within the park boundaries. As the third largest park within the US system, Denali habitat is a mix of forest at the lowest elevations, including deciduous taiga. The preserve is also home to tundra at middle elevations, and glaciers, rock, and snow at the highest elevations. The longest glacier is the Kahiltna Glacier. Wildlife includes grizzly bears, Dall sheep, caribou, wolves, moose and a wide range of smaller creatures. When you take a moment to soak in the vision before you, 'immense awe' is what you walk away, at least Betsey and I did.
Denali ("The High One" in Athabaskan) is the highest mountain peak in North America, with a summit elevation of 20,310 feet (6,190 m) above sea level and is the third most prominent and third most isolated peak after Mount Everest and Aconcagua. Located in the Alaska Range in the interior of the U.S. state of Alaska, Denali is the centerpiece of Denali National Park and Preserve.
Just a few miles away from Anchorage via Palmer, lies Hatcher Pass and the Independence Mine State Historic Park that offers tours in the summer time. A beautiful bowl, fringed by sharp ridges and peaks unfolds as the elevation increases along with the Hatcher Pass Lodge. A popular recreation area year round supporting Nordic and downhill skiing, mountain climbing, white water kayaking, rock climbing, mountain biking, paragliding, hiking, snowboarding, and back country camping for the Anchorage Basin. I have been told this is also a good place to see and photo the Northern Lights. Maybe in 2013!
May our paths & errands meet