Denali, the “Great One”: Getting a glimpse of our most majestic mountain

Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska

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This is one in a series of articles about our trip to Denali National Park.



You’d think it would be easy to spot Denali, North America’s tallest peak.  It is, after all, over 20,000 feet tall.  In reality, the mountain formerly known as Mount McKinley is notoriously elusive.  It makes its own, constantly changing weather and is usually cloud-covered, so the odds of seeing it are fairly low.  In a single day, there’s about a 33% chance of seeing the mountain in its entirety, and odds aren’t that much better that you’ll even get a glimpse of it.

That’s why Dale and I spent ten nights camping in Denali National Park and Preserve, a long time to spend in a single campground.

Did our time investment pay off?  Yes, it did.

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Exploring Alaska: Quirky Whittier, a hike to Portage Glacier, and our first whale sighting

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An older couple stood at the guardrail, their car parked on a shoulder not wide enough to accommodate it.  It was an act so reckless that a semi blared the horn at them as it passed.

I could see what they were risking their lives for–beluga whales, two of them, swimming in a protected cove near the road.

Continue reading “Exploring Alaska: Quirky Whittier, a hike to Portage Glacier, and our first whale sighting”

Alaska: Wrapping up some unfinished business

Our year in Ketchikan, Alaska, plus an announcement!

Ketchikan, Alaska

We left home the day after college graduation.  Dale picked me up from my parents’ house, the house I grew up in, and I told my parents and sister goodbye.  I was 23 but still so attached to my parents that you might say it was via umbilical cord, yet here I was, moving thousands of miles away.  I climbed into the Ford Ranger, its camper stuffed with our belongings, and turned to give my house one more look.  Then I started to cry.   Even after we had hit the highway and were headed north, tears continued to stream down my face.  It started to rain, a storm so heavy that Dale could barely see, but he said later that no way was he going to stop; I would’ve made him turn back.  I cried until we hit Dallas, and then, suddenly, I quit looking back, and the tears stopped.

It was May, 1993, and Dale and I were moving from New Braunfels, Texas, to Alaska.

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Homer, Alaska: Mountains and coast, oodles of otters, and some really big fish

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The city of Homer perfectly matched my vision of an Alaskan waterfront town—part grizzled sea captain, part aquamarine enchantress.

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How wild is the Alcan?

Traveling the Alaska Highway, part three

 

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Float plane on Pickhandle Lake, Yukon Territory

This is one of three posts about our drive on the Alaska Highway.


It used to be that the Alcan took some serious mettle to traverse.  You had to carry spare tires and car parts and know how to use them, and you might spend your nights camped in the middle of nowhere due to lack of services.

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From Alaska, random thoughts about the road trip (It’s over!)

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This is our baby (1997-2008). Dale has wanted to go to Denali National Park for as long as I can remember, and  he even suggested that we name our puppy after the mountain.  We thought about our Denali lots and lots during this trip!

I’m posting this a few days after leaving Denali National Park, where we tent-camped for ten days.  I have so much to share about Denali.  It’s one of the most special places on the planet.  People from all over the world visit and then keep coming back, again and again.

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Random Photo: The Northern Lights

Over twenty years had passed since we’d lived in Alaska, so long that the place had become like a dream to us.

So it’s fitting that, after finishing the Alcan and returning to Alaska, we saw the Northern Lights.  It’s an otherworldly experience, seeing the Aurora Borealis for the first time.

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Will you see wildlife on the Alaska Highway?

Traveling the Alaska Highway (Alcan), part two

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This is one of three posts about our drive on the Alaska Highway.


The weather forecast for our time on the Alcan showed nothing but rain.  For days, it was supposed to rain.  We were going to miss some of the stunning scenic views that make the Alcan legendary, all because of rain.

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The Alaska Highway (a.k.a., Alcan), part one: Facts and tips

How easy is it to do the Alcan? How long does it take to complete the drive? What are the accommodations like along the way? Your basic Alcan questions, answered.


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This is one of three posts about our drive on the Alaska Highway.


From August 30 through September 3, 2016, we drove the Alaska Highway, colloquially known as the Alcan.  It’s been on our bucket list for a very long time, and we finally made it happen this year.  This is the first of several posts about various aspects of this fantastic trip.

But first, what is the Alcan?

Continue reading “The Alaska Highway (a.k.a., Alcan), part one: Facts and tips”