It was in May, 2013, that my daughter, an Alaska resident, my two best friends, and I all took a tour of parts of Alaska. We met in Anchorage and traveled north to Denali National Park where Mount McKinley is located. The park itself covers more than six million acres and is carefully controlled to preserve it for everyone, including the wild life, since we are essentially treading on their home place. Despite having nearly a half million visitors each year, the park is tightly regulated to preserve the serenity and beauty for residents and guests alike.
We overnighted at the lodge which, although busy, was fairly empty since we arrived in mid-May before the typical tourist season which begins with Memorial Day weekend. If you’ve ever stayed at a federal lodge, you will know that they are places to sleep and generally not equipped with all the luxuries of regular hotels. There were no little soaps or shampoos waiting for us nor were the beds the latest and best, but it was comfortable and provided a place for us to rest our weary bodies after the day’s drive from Anchorage.
We were lucky since we had our own car giving us autonomy while the others arrived by tour bus. It wasn’t long after checking in that we piled back into the car to travel down the only road into the park for a look-see at the terrain. This early in the season the fields were spotted with snow and the river running alongside it was still frozen. There was no shortage of wild life as we meandered along stopping where we wanted to take a photo or just look at nature at its majestic best. Beyond it all was Denali, so tall, so rugged, so breathtaking, so worth the time to go see it.