Well, it’s another day in paradise for sure … as we’re greeted to an amazing bluebird day! Nothing like viewing Mt. McKinley (aka Denali) from such a distance away and seeing it without being shrouded in the clouds.
Of course that was the telephoto view, while the below image was the “eye’s view” taken with a traditional landscape lens near the Mountain Vista Trailhead parking lot. Either way, the beauty is apparent.
New to us in 2014 was the Savage Alpine Trail, which was conveniently located adjacent to the Mountain Vista Trailhead parking lot, near the Savage River Campground. We decided to give it a shot. I was immediately pleased when I came across a sign warning of bear activity in the area. I remember thinking that this was going to be a great hike!
Designated trails in Denali NP are a rare sight to see, as most of this vast wilderness makes only for its own DIY (Do It Yourself) trails. In the past, one could hike here, but being that it ventured close to the moose rut closure in the fall, it wasn’t generally accessed frequently. In the beginning of the trail, some boards were used to designate the trail and keep it in good condition. It was so beautiful as we made our way about 1/4 up the mountain.
About 1/3 of the way up, we were treated to views like this. Oh yeah!
Before long, the views behind us, actually all around us were increasingly spectacular with our climbing elevation.
Upon reaching near the summit of the climb, Tom took in the view from all around.
It was one of the most breathtaking views … I’m talking 360 degrees … I’ve ever witnessed. Didn’t matter which way you looked. I didn’t ever want to leave as I tried desperately to soak it all in … essentially trying to imprint it into my soul … to draw upon in future days when I would once again long for this solitude and immense beauty.
But alas, we eventually had to descend … happily the beauty remained all around us.
And when the mountain views had eluded us, we still had running creek waters to call upon our senses, as the water made its way down the mountain.
In the finale, we were treated to a beautiful gravel path back down to the park road and our RV waiting for us.
We never see those bears that were “frequenting the area” :-(, but we were treated some wildlife sightings, mainly birds, such as this lovely grouse seen almost immediately as it scurried off the path in front of us as we explored. 🙂
Every day and night, we would “troll” those first 15 miles of accessible park road for any wildlife that might be in the area. Usually it was a moose on the loose, but many have seen wolf, lynx, bear, porcupine, a variety of squirrels, and other sightings.
On this evening we made our way back to Savage River to try our chance at finding a bear, lynx, dall sheep, wolf, or whatever might be passing through the area, but only moose were found. Hard to beat the scene though as the sun began to set on the landscape.
Then when we turned around to leave for the night, I saw this amazing moon beginning to rise on the landscape. Being that it was still low, it looked amazingly big … and definitely beautiful. “Pull the RV over right now”, which was a request usually reserved for wildlife sightings – LOL.
After a few shots, Tom thought that I was done, but no … for I knew that the light would be changing again and that the image might become more interesting and beautiful. As we were waiting for the moon to continue to rise and the colors to emerge, we were entertained by this cute little guy … flying into our RV grill … in search of bugs! We watched as he repeatedly fly in and out. It was quite interesting and most definitely entertaining to watch.
Sure enough, the colors began to pop and all I could think was that this was the perfect ending to a perfect day!
We did however have another day waiting for us to explore the wonders of Denali. I did a mental checklist of the Big 5 … all sightings were accomplished of the moose, bear, caribou, dall sheep, and the wolf. Denali in its full glory was also accomplished (30% club inductees once again – even better since we viewed it without a hint of a cloud). Lots of bird sightings … variety of smaller animals … But I was missing a lynx ;-). I was still pleased with my luck so far, as lynx sightings in 2014 were scarce due to the decline of the snowshoe hares in the park … a favorite food of the lynx.
Stay tuned for the remaining stories and images from Denali NP.
© 2014 TNWA Photography