Wonder Lake, Denali National Park, Alaska

Posted at 9:50 pm, August 25th, 2002

The only way that days get better than today is when they’re shared, so hopefully everyone can at least somewhat share today with me by reading this log. I woke up at 1:00 AM last night and saw stars in the sky for the first time in weeks. Got up to search for the northern lights, and while there was a glow in the southeast it may have only been moonlight reflecting off of high clouds. Woke up early this morning to board the first camper bus out to Wonder Lake — the road through Denali is closed past Savage River so buses are the only way to travel further. On the trip through the park we saw several animals including a bull moose (the moose count now stands at five), a fox, and two grizzly bears. One of the grizzlies was digging for roots along a stream and worked his way to within ten feet of the bus — I could make out every single hair on his immense body. It was an awesome experience.

After arriving at Wonder Lake the sun came out for the first time in ages, and Denali (Mt. McKinley) began to peek out — the mountain hasn’t been out from behind the clouds in at least a week, and is usually only visible a few days a month, yet for the whole afternoon I had at least a partial view of the entire north face — it’s an amazingly beautiful mountain that dwarfs everything around it. I spent seven hours roaming through the tundra, eating wild blueberries, and lying down in meadows watching the scenery. Sandhill cranes were calling out (next to wolves and loons, one of the most stirring sounds I’ve heard in the wild) and the trails I occasionally followed were filled with moose tracks, but no footprints. The day ended with two and a half pounds of warm stew, and now I’m curled up comfortably in my tent waiting for what tomorrow might bring.

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