Alaska is an adult playland that abounds with things to do. You can be oceanside one day and a day later deep into the mountains. For this trip, one goal was to go to Mt. McKinley which is the tallest mountain in the United States. It is located in Denali National Park about 200 miles north of Anchorage and about 180 miles south of Fairbanks if that helps. The park itself is a sprawling mass of mountains laid out nearly side by side in an array of splendor that quite simply takes your breath away. Each massive, rugged expanse seems to touch the sky and yet there are still bigger ones next to it. They sit there in somber relief softened only by the estimated thirty feet of snow surrounded by six million acres of protected, preserved land for all to see in its natural beauty.
We have driven up and are somewhat odd in that we have a car and our own private tour guide thanks to Alicia. Everyone else here are a part of a tour set up by Holland America and are transported around by bus. The thought of it makes me shudder in horror at the idea of someone else telling me what I’m doing and when. We four are the masters of our small universe and are uncommonly agreeable. But I digress so back to point of this post. We are here to see Mt McKinley and after checking in and getting settled, we jumped —no, we didn’t —-we stumbled into the car and went into the park. This road, Park Road, is the only access into the park and Mt McKinley. This area is tightly controlled by federal and state regulations to prevent encroachment of any kind on this land. Therefore, it’s beauty remains intact for everyone. During the season which runs from Memorial Day until Labor Day, only tour buses are allowed in the park, but with us coming so early cars are allowed a certain distance into the park.
We drive through seeing the still frozen river here, a fox there, and moose rambling around in search of food. It is all overwhelming even though I see the Smokey Mountains every day. This mountain range is so large and so majestic that one can only stand in awe and admire.