Denali

 

We made it to Denali!After our time in Seward, we drove up to Denali National Park, just a few hours north of Anchorage. The park is huge–6 million acres, but is only accessible through one road, and that road only allows cars for the first 15 miles. After that, you must ride a shuttle (a green school bus) into the park.  As  you can imagine, riding a school bus through the mountains on a gravel road can be a thrilling experience in itself.

Denali is a hiker’s playground. The park actually discourages trail hiking– they’d rather people walk out on their own path, making a smaller footprint. This is a great idea, but  I was slightly terrified to think about just walking out into the wilderness. I didn’t know what was a worse: getting lost, or running into a bear.

Fortunately we found that the park provides a ranger lead ‘Discovery Hike’ every day, so we joined a group that shuttled 61 miles into the park, and then just started walking.

As a group of 10, we hiked along Stony Creek — which also required crossing it several times. This was an experience that quickly taught me two things:  my hiking boots are not water proof, and glacial streams are incredibly cold. Seriously, numb-your-whole-leg cold.

Then we climbed up Stony Creek Mountain to eat lunch, and saw a beautiful rainbow arching through the valley below.

It was a beautiful moment, but also put a song in my head from the Sound of Music that sings about climbing mountains, fording streams and following rainbows…

 

 

 

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