Category Archives: Mountains

Out Camping in Denali

Last week Hubby and I celebrated a whole nine years of marriage.

To celebrate, we did something that we’ve only done once before during our marriage: went camping.

That’s right. My hubby, who used to be a Denali trail guide before I met him, and I have only camped once before last weekend. And you want to know the real insult? It wasn’t even Alaskan camping–it was in Washington state!

I’m hiding my head here, because it’s really so pathetic. I think we just got so caught up in life and everything that we didn’t make time to get away.

Last weekend though, we dropped the kid at Grandma and Grandpa’s, and drove a few hours into Denali National Park. In recent years, they’ve opened up the park road to 29 mile, Teklanika camp ground. So instead of taking a bus in, we were able to drive our car out to the campground.

Now, let me preface this by saying that this is light-weight camping. There were outhouses–nice ones–and potable water at this campground. But it was still “camping.” We didn’t have cell reception, so we were unplugged all weekend. And it really felt nice.

I was able to finish a short story while I was out there, and read some of Geraldine Brook’s The People of the Book, which I am starting to enjoy more, although it’s different from her other books and I don’t like it as much.

But I also managed to take a few pictures, and just had to share.

DenaliMay2015IMG_6904

The entrance to our campsite.

DenaliMay2015IMG_6897

We took an evening walk the day we got there, and the area surrounding the campsite was classic Alaska. The light was so great and created such a peaceful picture. I was tempted–if I didn’t realize how much wildlife as out there–to sit under a tree and read my book!

DenaliMay2015IMG_6891

This little creek meandered through the area, eventually disappearing under the tundra.

DenaliMay2015IMG_6898

We half expected to see a moose around the corner, or a bear, as we found many moose droppings in the area. But, no luck. No moose.

DenaliMay2015IMG_6915

The next morning we woke and went on a morning hike along the Teklanika River. This is the view from the riverbank. It was a gorgeous day, with few clouds and nice hiking weather. Not too hot, nor too cold.

DenaliMay2015IMG_6910

Some of the mountains still have snow on their tips, and probably won’t lose that snow all year round. Even so close to June, we found shaded spots and creeks with hardpacked snow still there.

DenaliMay2015IMG_6907

Another classic Alaskan picture. The skinny trees, the mountains in the back, this could be anyone’s backyard. Only it’s in Denali National Park.

DenaliMay2015IMG_6943

On our three hour hike along the river, we found thhese bear tracks on the way back to campsite. Later we heard from a camper we ran into ok our walk that a bus saw a Grizzly watching him pass by along the river.

DenaliMay2015IMG_6942

With claws like this, who wouldn’t want to run into this guy?

DenaliMay2015IMG_6929

Caribou tracks. Saw a lot of these along the river–tracks, not caribou.

DenaliMay2015IMG_6919

These pretty little flowers grew along the riverbank in patches.

DenaliMay2015IMG_6916

Wolf tracks. Saw plenty of these, as well as some fox tracks. But no live ones, unfortunately.

DenaliMay2015IMG_6967

One of the few animals that posed for me, this graverobber visited our campsite a few times looking for food.

DenaliMay2015IMG_6971

We didn’t want to get any closer to this Grizzly Bear we found right off the river from our campground. He looked a little too big to mess with!

DenaliMay2015IMG_6987

If you look closely, you can find the Griz right in the center of this pic. My lens wasn’t good enough to get a better picture, something I’m still upset about…

DenaliMay2015IMG_6992

As we drove out of the park Sunday morning, we were given a beautiful farewell by Denali herself.

DenaliMay2015IMG_6993

Denali, or The Great One

DenaliMay2015IMG_7011

Views like this is why people move here.

DenaliMay2015IMG_7009

I couldn’t decide which picture was better… This was one of the best views I’d ever gotten of The Mountain.

DenaliMay2015IMG_7008

The best wildlife shot I could get was of this ptarmigan! Silly bird didn’t move from the side of the road as we drove by.

DenaliMay2015IMG_7000

But attention turns back to Denali… Who can tear their eyes from her?

DenaliMay2015IMG_6997

She really dominates the scenery…she’s big!

Advertisements

Spring in the Arctic

Well, it’s officially breakup season here. The snow has been melting like mad, the roads constantly freeze at night and then thaw during the day (really the best way for all the snow to melt and keep clean and drivable roads). 

For the first time since the snow hit, we can begin to see the brush in our backyard. Late this summer and fall, that backyard will turn into berries that I can go out and pick and share with my berry-loving son. We have blueberry bushes, raspberry bushes, and two types of cranberries out there. Last year we moved in too late to reap anything but the cranberries. 

I’m looking forward to this summer, being able to go outside with my son, who has now started walking, and share the Alaskan summers.

The sunlight has already become obnoxious–with daylight savings shifting the days later and later. By June 21st, the sun won’t be truly setting around here at all. (There’s an official sunset still in the Fairbanks area, but it stays bright all night.) 

Spring makes it easier to get out and do things, despite the large puddles where I could easily lose my one-year-old and never know it. Piles of the dirtiest snow you’ve ever seen lay heaped on sides of road under months of road gravel. These piles will remain long past all other snow patches, even if they lie in full sun. The top coating of gravel protects the snow from the heat of the sun, and slow piles of trash emerge as the snow melts. Every once in awhile you see people out there with metal detectors, looking for lost winter treasures. I hear stories of people finding great things too, like lost iPhones or wedding rings. Heck, maybe I should start metal detecting as a hobby! 

And since I’ve been MIA for so many days weeks, here are a few photos that I’ve taken as an apology. 😉

 

March 30, 2015

  

Denali, March 30, 2015

  

Deanli, March 28, 2015

  

Denali, March 17, 2015

 

My Absence From Thee

“How like a winter hath my absence been
From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!
What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen!
What old December’s bareness every where!
And yet this time remov’d was summer’s time,
The teeming autumn, big with rich increase,
Bearing the wanton burden of the prime,
Like widowed wombs after their lords’ decease:
Yet this abundant issue seem’d to me
But hope of orphans and unfathered fruit,
For summer and his pleasures wait on thee,
And thou away, the very birds are mute;
Or if they sing, ’tis with so dull a cheer
That leaves look pale, dreading the winter’s near.”

Sonnet 97, Shakespeare

Crescent Moon over Denali

Crescent Moon over Denali

Lately, I’ve had a fascination with the sky, especially at sunrise and sunset. So I have snapped literally hundreds of photos of said sky. Then when it comes time to choose the best, I find I love them all so much that I can’t make a decision. So here’s a gallery of them all. Because each one is awesome in its own way.

IMG_5606

05 November 2014, 4:10 p.m.

IMG_5604

05 November 2014, 4:10 p.m.

IMG_5594

05 November 2014, 4:10 p.m.

IMG_5590

05 November 2014, 4:10 p.m.

IMG_5592

05 November 2014, 4:10 p.m.

IMG_5578

05 November 2014, 4:10 p.m.

IMG_5568

05 November 2014, 4:10 p.m.

IMG_5565

05 November 2014, 4:10 p.m.

IMG_5564

05 November 2014, 4:10 p.m.

IMG_5563

05 November 2014, 4:10 p.m.

IMG_5560

05 November 2014, 4:10 p.m.

IMG_5532

Denali Keeping watch over Fairbanks

IMG_5525

05 November 2014, 4:10 p.m.