I hiked the Triple Lakes Trail yesterday afternoon, a rare 12 miles of Denali Park lands that actually boasts a human-maintained trail running fairly consistently from end to end. Since the Visitor’s Center and Park are effectively closed for winter by now, other than the occasional sound of trail crewmembers through the woods, I had the entire trail to myself. (Oh, plus no less than 6 piles of grizzly scat along an 8-mile stretch of those 12 miles…but no bears in sight. Bummer!)
We’ve had 11 straight days of all sun, all blue skies, all day long in Denali—a remarkable gift and one I’m glad I overlapped with. Daily walks along the bluff, to the pond at DM’s, or Savage River and trails like Triple Lakes when I could get a car, were easy outings because of this. It might have been 18 degrees in the outhouse in the mornings, but by 6pm it was 55-58 degrees (for, oh, about twenty minutes) and that was good enough for me. There is nothing like dry, constant sunlight in cool, crisp air. Maybe I should check out the high deserts of Colorado next.
Here’s a few photos from my time along the trail, which I considered my farewell-for-now to Denali. Next time, I’ll plan a backpacking excursion for certain. For now, I wrote my heart out in Denali, lived amongst two pivotal families in the Nenana Valley, and studied the subculture of people here (everyone from seasonal Park employees to famous dog mushers to downright driven writers and lovers of life).
[High peaks in the distant Wrangell Mountains—Deborah and Hayes—show themselves from this high point along the Triple Lakes Trail]
[Descending to Lake 2]
After the hike? Back to the dog yard, where my heart’s already after a few of these pups.
Tiger 1: Who me?
Tiger 2: Let’s play!
Spot: Oh, she’s about to pet me, she’s about to pet me. I’m so shy but I’m so excited I just have to close my eyes!
Juliette: Love, love, love, love, pant, love, pant, pant.