Finally back in Alaska, and what better photo to choose for such an occasion than a photo of my favorite campsite in Denali. This one is special as (a) it’s where I took my folks to have lunch one afternoon last month, and (b) shows my newest tent, a 4 season tent from Sierra Designs, by way of my Canadian friends, Carol and Pete Zwiers. Thanks so much Pete and Carol for the tent – you can see I put it to good use already! This year I made a quick little trip to Denali for a few days that I had free – I had been planning on going to the Wrangells, of course, but the weather prediction for those few days in the Wrangells was pretty bleak .. Denali;s forecast was slighly better, so I went there.
Turned out to be a good decision (if I say so myself, I made a few good ones this summer!). I had amazing weather almost the whole week in Denali. This campsite rocks. I won’t disclose too exactly where it is, but lying in the tent I could look out the south facing doors and watch the mountain at night, or turn my head around and look out the doors facing north and watch the northern lights – and yes I did do both on the same night, more than once. It was easily the best weather I’ve ever had in Denali – not too cold, not too hot, no fires, clouds in the afternoons and a few thunderstorms, clearing at night to nice crisp mornings. I could say I was lucky, but I’d be embarassed to say how many nights I’ve camped in this exact spot over the years – let’s just say it adds up to more than a month’s worth of nights.
Another great thing about this backcountry spot is it doesn’t require too strenuous of a hike to get there. It’s a little brushy, but not bad. There’s a great little kettle pond nearby with good water (I drank it unfiltered – because, of course, I forgot to bring a filter – one of the costs that comes with doing so much backpacking in Wrangell St. Elias, where I don’t use one), killer, killer blueberries around, and, best of all, nobody ever goes up there. I’ve NEVER not been able to get this particular backcountry unit when I went to Denali – even when booking on the same day I planned to hike. Pretty cool. All that and it’s free!
So, anyway, now I’m back in Alaska. The first morning was 15 degrees, and they days have been beautiful, crisp, clear sunny days. Dawn’s a little after 8am, and it doesn’t get dark until 7:30-ish — I’m thinking this winter in Alaska thing is no big deal. 🙂
So far, I’ve spent my time in front of this darned computer, editing, processing and filing images from the summer. More about that in another post. For now, I need to enjoy the afternoon.
PS: You can see more photos from Denali National Park here.