Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Sunday, June 24: Up early, another beautiful day! Blog a little (poor connections lately, can’t post to the blog!) then time to pack up and dismantle the tent. Great pancakes with Emmons at Sourdough Sam’s, then on the road for Healy AK. My ears pop as we head up into the mountains. They are low rounded hills, misty and wooded, with spruce growing in the permafrost. We laugh as we go through Nenana (means a good place to camp between the rivers) where the river of the same name merges with the Tanana; someone from there would say, “I’m from Nenana on the Tanana!” (I guess you had to be there—maybe we’re getting road crazy.) We pass through some burned over areas (they don’t fight the fires unless they endanger humans), then we see the tall peaks of the Alaskan Range (of which McKinley—Denali—is the center, highest peak—it’s good to see the mountains again, pretty flat around Fairbanks. We see smoke off to the west; we hear there are fires also in CO and AZ—and floods in the Twin Ports—a wild summer. We pull into McKinley RV Park at last; unfortunately it is Dogpatch II! Thank goodness when Chuck et al arrive he is able to get his money back; Ron and I have reconnoitered while waiting for them and found a spot advertised as “clean, comfortable, and reasonable”—and it is! I think our good fairy is watching over us today! Unfortunately Denali RV Park has no camping, only cabins—darn! Chuck fixes a great steak dinner, then we google tickets for an 8am Denali bus tour tomorrow. To save time in the morning, we take a trip down to the park store and pick up our tickets, and Ron treats us to huckleberry ice cream cones—what a guy! When we get back, Ron and I take a 45-minute hike up to Antler Ridge and back; I definitely take my walking stick with the bell on! It’s a lovely walk through the permafrost and up the mountainside and we end up high above the campground. (You can just see the tops of the camp buildings in the photo far to the upper left). There a several new wildflowers and the vistas are amazing! We see a big pingo--a rounded mound pushed up in the permafrost; the opposite is a thermo-karst--a sink left by melting. Ready for bed when we get back—up early for the bus tomorrow!