It has been a great first week catching up with my dad, Julie and Alex. In the morning we have relaxed in the sun with coffee near the garden beds where some of the veggies have survived the thieving moose.
We haven’t been too ambitious with activities but we have had some exceptional experiencies thus far. Julie and Dad have been wonderful in welcoming us and sharing the Alaskan lifestyle like roasting saugages in a campfire along the Nenana River and collecting firewood from fallen trees. The big stack of fireword they are storing in the woodshed will keep Julie and Dad warm in the approaching cold winter. -50 F is not uncommon here. We had the first frost yesterday night that withered much of the flowers in the garden.
The other day Steve and I travelled into Denali Park for our first hike on the Savage Alpine Trail which was only a two hour hike but enough elevation gain and descent to work the legs. Alex joined us and because he visits his aunt Julie every year and has entered the park many occassions he was able to give us some knowledge on the park’s bus system which we used to get back to the car from our hike. You can only drive to around mile 15 otherwise you have to book a bus tour that goes further into the park. Mile 92 is the furthest you can go in, which ends up being a 12 hour day.
On our drive into the park we caught a slight glimpse of “The Great One” or Mt Denali hiding in the clouds. They say only 30% who travel to this area actually get to see the mountain unveiled, so to see a bit of the side was tantalising. Along the walk we met a few ground squirrels fattened from their summer gorging.
Yesterday turned out to be a clear sunny day – why not take up the spectacular opportunity to take a scenic flight from Healy’s small but windy airstrip up through the national park! The plane bumped and bobbed in the first 10 minutes but it levelled out which eased the growing sense of motion sickness. The perspective of the landscape from the plane’s altitude was incredible and then the climax of the trip was getting close to Mt Denali. Words cannot describe the beauty so I will let the photos convey this awesome experience.