Posts filed under Denali

Denali Adventures - Spring edition

Flashback Friday

Into the Mountains

    Last year around this time we ventured out into the wild, into Denali National Park. We have been there so many times together before, but this time was the first time we were there together again. It was also the first time none of us still lived in Alaska. As we drove south towards the Alaska Range, my heart skipped a beat, as it always tend to do when I see those large mountains. We were listening to some bluegrass music, which is something we tend to do a lot. While driving in more remote areas we usually hook up the phone to the car radio, so we get access to offline playlists, because in Alaska you tend to loose both cellservice and radioservice. It's a common theme for anyone driving these roads. Sun was shining and spring was in the air, even though snow usually stay put on the ground until the end of April, sometimes even into May.

Silence and solitude

    We were so lucky with the weather, blue sky, well semi blue sky, but what else do you need with views like these? Our friend lives right outside the park and let us use her cabin, while she was up in Fairbanks. How lucky is she, with these mountains in her backyard. It is a different life in Alaska, it's slower, but more intense. You focus on completely different things compared to people who live in larger cities. It's a different lifestyle. It's silent, around this time you could hear the water, drip, drop, drip, drop, slowly falling down the side of the cabin. Every now and then you can hear and see the moose walking by the cabin. I have had friends who have spent hours in the outhouse, because they have been trapped by a moose blocking the way back to their cabin. I know our friend outside Denali have had Lynx at her doorstep. But I love that lifestyle, and I miss it. Imagine opening up your door to this landscape. 


    The first day we spent a few hours in the park. Mostly driving around and some short hiking. The snow was soft and we quickly sank in, knee deep in our boots. Spring was definitely here. The winds felt warm in my face, or maybe that was just the combination with the sun, or maybe just me being in my euphoria stage, the way I get when I see these mountains. It's incredible how small we are, how small we are against these large mountains. You can see so far but yet so short. There is a wide open space out there, that is still wild. When we got hungry we drove out of the park, to this fancy restaurant that is open during the off season, and serve great local food, for the few people that live around here. I know many people who drive all the way from Fairbanks down there, just to go to this restaurant, that's about a 2 hr drive. We were lucky, we didn't have to wait too long, and we enjoyed a nice dinner before we drove back to that little cabin in the foothills of the mountains again. As the darkness fell over the cabin we played Bananagram, until we both were too tired to continue. 


    The next morning I woke up early, as I always tend to do. I went out and got some pictures of the mountains, and the sunrise. Those mountains, how can you not be mesmerized by them? After breakfast we packed our skis and drove back into the park. As we started skiing we saw some stretches with open water, now that is a clear sign of spring up north. We had to rethink our ski trip due to the open water, but found a safer way to cross down stream, and before we knew it we were on our way into the mountains. We continued skiing towards the mountains. It was only us, not a single other person could be seen out there. This is a common theme in Alaska, even in the summertime you can find places with no other person. Alaska is so large, so open and so wild. As in many other National Parks in the US, few people actually leave their car and venture out into the wild like we do. As we continued through the shrubs we even spotted a ptarmigan, or two. Those sneaky little birds are so beautiful, but hard to get a good picture off, so I'll leave you with one below and you can play the game "spot the bird" for a while. 

The Beauty of Denali

    Time passes so fast when you are having fun. But we can't stay forever in the park, and I managed to snap some photos of Denali, who finally decided to peak out of her clouds. She's tricky like that, she's large enough to create her own weather pattern, and seem to show herself on her own terms. Often times in the summertime people wait and wait to be able to see her, and finally miss their opportunity due to all those clouds she produces. Imagine flying all the way to Alaska and not seeing Denali. It happens more often than what you might think. 

Are you going out into the mountains around this time of year?

We got a battle in front of us


"I hope that the United States of America is not so rich that she can afford to let these wildernesses pass by. Or so poor that she cannot afford to keep them." - Margaret (Mardy) Murie

Wednesday Thoughts

    Sometimes this world makes me scared, scared that all this will somehow disappear, just like that. But as soon as I am out there I forget about all the worries of our free world, all I can think about are all of these massive wilderness places that are put aside for us, only us! This wilderness is ours, and we should prepare to fight for every last little bit of it from this government that don't seem to value these places as much as we do. 

One place where we can do this is at: Earth Justice

You can also take action on the climate agreement that the US is planning on pulling out from, on Earth Justice website, Take Action

Another depressing thing is that opening ANWR to drilling in 2018 will be one of the priorities in Drumps budget

You can read more about this long battle: War of the Arctic Oil


Again, I am sharing this powerful video about ANWR:

Skiing in Denali


Adventure Tuesday

Spring in Denali?

    A few weekends ago, when we made a short appearance in Alaska again, we took the opportunity to go skiing in Denali. We were so lucky when it comes to the weather. It felt like spring, snowmelt, 45 degrees and sunny, with some blue sky! Denali is tricky, she can create her own weather patterns, that is why so few people actually get to see her. But we did, and we have so many times in the past too, countless times.


Too warm to ski?

    The only downside to cross country skiing when its above 40 degree is that it is slightly too warm. But, we really really wanted to get out, and hiking was not an option since the snowpack was so deep. We decided to ski up this creek, towards the mountains. Sun was shining and the snowpack was thick, if you were trying to walk on the snow without skis you would sink through, well actually that tend to happen a bit with the skis too. We saw open water at some places but not a single animal, well, we did see some ptarmigan, but that was about it. We packed the snow down at our tunaround point and sat down for some lunch. I told W how lucky we were, lucky to be out here in the middle of Denali National Park. We glanced up the creek towards the mountains, and bot of us were thinking about the same thing. We wished we had a tent, more gear and time to actually get ut there and get somewhere. But we were pleased with the outing still. You take what you can get, right?


    Snow will stay on the ground until late April, early May, sometimes even later in Alaska. In Madison it's completely snow free now, and I walked around in shorts this past weekend.