Road Trip to Denali

alaska denali trip

After my four hours of sleep (my fault) we got up early, checked out of our small hotel, and hit the road driving north on Highway One. Our destination, Denali, the national park home to Mt. McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America.

Unfortunately the weather has grown worse instead of better, and now it is raining rather than just misting. The temperature hovers around 50 degrees. Bleh. We drove north for nearly eight hours, made much longer because of frequent stops to look at things, to fish, and to break up the monotony. Despite the weather, the scenery was still very impressive, with an unbelievable amount of water and cloud-covered mountains in every direction.

We stopped for a while at a big drooping glacier that looked like it had seen better days. Rather than being the majestic piece of bluish colored ice, it had crawled its way down into a snow bank that had an eerie blue tint to it in the little bit of sunlight we had. It was just one of several very old glaciers here that are literally melting away. Global warming in progress?

Later down the road, we passed a more proper looking one and I felt a pang of adventure come across me. I wanted to walk on this thing and explore it! What a strange attraction these dangerous mountains of blue ice have.

Along the drive, we passed a few lodges, but very little else. Above us, float planes buzzed by, taking people in different directions to fish, camp, or hike.

We finished for the day by staying in an interesting lodge called the “Tangle River Inn,” which as the name states, sits right on the Denali Highway on Tangle Lake. The staff was very friendly, and despite prices being kind of high everywhere, the food was good. The lodge was everything you would expect: lots of glass for viewing the mountains, animal heads, and interesting travelers — including a table of beer-drinking (surprise) Belgians here for whatever reason.

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