Denali National Park, a Place of Extremes….

Cynthia and I just returned from a week up in Alaska, mostly around Denali National Park. Encompassing 6,000,000 acres, roughly the size of Massachusetts, it is one of the largest nature parks on the planet.  It includes most of the Alaska Range with Mt. McKinley(Mt.Denali to Alaskans) being the crown jewel.

Picture of Mt. McKinley (Mt. Denali for Alaskans)

Unlike the National Parks in the “lower 48”, there is only one road, one way, into the park.  You can only drive on the first 18 miles of the 92 mile road, and then you must board one of the Buses provided by the park service to travel the remaining 74 miles of unpaved road over some of the wildest and untouched country you will ever see.

Tundra with Foothills in the Background

We stayed at a resort at the end of the 92 mile road which is as close to being out in the middle of “nowhere” as I have ever been.  Looking at a quadrant running straight north and west from where I stayed, there are no more roads in that portion of Alaska, period.  We saw grizzly bears, moose, caribou, Dall sheep and a host of other smaller animals.

Young Grizzly Bear

One of the highlights of the trip was finally being able to see the peak of Mt. Denali, which is the tallest in  North America, and the tallest in terms of vertical rise from a valley floor in the world (it can be socked in by clouds for months at a time).  We even had a 5.4 earthquake to remind us what a seismic hotbed Alaska is.  All in all a fantastic trip and one I would highly recommend if you have a taste for wild country and the road less traveled.


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