Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Denali National Park 2008

From the start I wasn't expecting a repeat of the serendipity marking my last trip into Denali, made just over a year ago. I had brought a friend with me from Texas who, for all I know, had never seen the inside of a national park. The trip was particularly edifying as the mountain made a very rare appearance (it was out all day) and could be seen from the lowlands while a pack of wolves ambushed a herd of Dall sheep and chased them within 20 yards of us.

My goal this year was to see just one animal. Anything. Even a moose. And if I could spot the base of the mountain, so much the better. I was born and raised in Alaska, so I know to make the proper mental preparations -- it is going to be cold and wet. Anything else is an unexpected surprise. Alaska is no place for sanguine attitudes.

But I'll be darned if I didn't strike it lucky for a second time. People sometimes camp for a month at the base of the mountain and never see it. I blow through on a shuttle bus one day per year and have lunches like this:

The mountain is so big that it makes its own weather. So it isn't uncommon to have an otherwise sunny day holding a giant storm spot where the mountain should be. I tried to convey our extreme fortunes to the non-Alaskans around me. We sat in the sun and we imbibed. And we saw lots of animals.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Our bus driver said it was the best day that year to see the mountain!