26 days in Alaska … sounds like a lot, but the time just flies by! This will be the last in the series of blog posts detailing out 2013 trip. Funny how I’m still blogging about it, since it’s only about 7 months until we hopefully return again! Yes, that’s right, make that #8! See, there’s so much to see and do, not to mention that by the time it gets to be August in south Florida, you really need a “chill break”. LOL
Our final 5 days in Alaska were spent re-visiting Denali NP. We spent the time in the Riley Creek Campground, which allows us the flexibility of traveling the park road’s 1st 15-miles on our daily moose trolls, and the ability to get outside for dining and other activities. We have always had a great time in the campgrounds, regardless of which ones (several choices in Denali for RVs), but we did have a challenge on this leg of our trip. See, in Denali campgrounds, you grab your site, identify its occupied status by posting your registration on the site identifier, and come and go without concern. One night we came home from dinner to find our site occupied. The “invader” said that they were “told to park there” and we could “find another site somewhere else”. I don’t think so. After some debate, they finally left our site and found another of their own, clearing without belonging to any site, since they didn’t even have a registration ticket. First and only issue ever encountered on 7 trips! Whatever ….
The Denali landscape was prettier than ever. The front end of the park was in full bloom and the weather began to clear up a bit.
We even had a few sunny days!
We were able to get out hiking a bit. We love to hike along the creeks and view the plant life and views that it affords.
We’ve been coming to visit the railroad trestle that supports an iron bridge over Riley Creek for years. It can been seen along the park road …. such a view.
Another favorite hike in the front of the park is the Horseshoe Lake Trail. I always find it quite interesting how the hiking path meanders through the vegetation and descends into the lake. Always fun on the way down … not too bad coming back up either. 🙂
The Alaskan Railroad also connects visitors to the park entrance, though we’ve never been a passenger.
During our visit, we were treated to a variety of weather patterns, each offering us a different “feel” and experience of the landscape. Whether it was offering up rainbows, which were plentiful during our stay, or producing misty rays of light over the vast landscape, it was always fascinating.
One of the last nights we were there, I noticed that the skies cleared up nicely. After dinner and a few beers, we decided to find a dark spot to check out the horizon for any signs of auroral activity. Now I know I had a few beers but I thought I saw some “lights” (keep in mind that I have “seen things” that didn’t actually exist before). Tom cautiously agreed that there might be something. Within minutes, we were off to the other side of Healy (i.e. the closest nearby town). So, what did we find?
Yes, albeit it wasn’t the most spectacular auroral activity that I had ever seen, it was in fact a northern lights sighting. Set up in the middle of nowhere, in complete and utter darkness, it was a bit creepy to say that least. But it sure was fun!
At one point, I turned just a bit and witnessed the milky way displaying itself. How beautiful!
We in south Florida don’t get to see that often, since our city lights dim the twinkling stars, so we were quite a bit excited!
Yes, Denali is one of the most spectacular places that I have ever been to and I don’t think that I could ever travel to Alaska and not venture to visit it. So, I guess I’ll have to wait until my next trip, which fortunately shouldn’t be that long away. 🙂
Hope that you’ve enjoyed coming along with us to Alaska! I wanted to give a special shout out to my good friend Rebecca Tifft, who actually has the honor of working out there every summer … lucky girl!