The Denali Trip – part 1

Two weekends ago I went to Denali National Park for two days. A group of six of us drove up Saturday night from the McKinley Lodge that we work at to the Denali Lodge that is right next to the entrance to Denali. There wasn’t enough room for us all to stay in the lodge so Stephen, Tonya, and I decided to camp out Saturday night somewhere. Tonya called up her friend that works at the Denali Lodge Riley and he was nice enough to show us spot to camp. When Tonya called him about a camping spot, he asked what kind of car we had and said that it had to be 4 wheel drive. You know a camping spot has to be good if you need a car with 4 wheel drive to get to it.

We followed Riley on this little road in Healey (the town a couple miles north of the park entrance). The road went from paved to gravel to just plain sketchy. We weaved our way up this hill and went over a couple hairy parts that no regular car could have made it passed without a good foot and a half of ground clearance. I was afraid Nancy (my RAV4) was going to scrape in a couple spots. A huge moose also ran out in front of us as we were driving up. I nice little reminder that we were in the wilderness. We turned off at one point on the road to this little trail that was so narrow that branches were rubbing the car on both sides. As we made it to the end, we found a beautiful little camping spot right on a lake overlooking the mountains. It was extremely remote feeling. We excitedly got out of the car to look around, and then Stephen noticed a hissing coming from one of my tires. Not the kind of sound you want to hear when you are in the middle of nowhere. Our worst fears were confirmed as we pulled the tire off and found some kind of metal scrap stuck in the tire. And of course the thing that I had been meaning to check since I got my car, the spare tire, was flat as well. Luckily Riley was with us and offered to take my spare tire down to the lodge’s bus shop to try to put some air in it. Me and Stephen clear a nice spot for the tent and gathered firewood while Riley and Tonya went to get air. I feared the worst as cleared our campsite, but after 30 minutes or so, Riley returned with my spare inflated and perfectly functional. What a relief. He also said that the bus shop could probably repair the hole in my tire and told me who to talk to about it.

We setup my brand new tent (which is awesome by the way) and made a little camp fire to roast some smores on. Tonya introduced me to the roasted Reece’s peanut butter cup which I put on my smores instead of plain chocolate. It was amazing. You must try this. The wind was blowing crazy off the lake we were next to so we had to keep our fire really small and low. The last thing we wanted to do was start another wildfire. There has been so many of them this season already.

Unfortunately the wind didn’t die down at all when we went to sleep so we were serenaded by the rain fly flapping violently all night. And I just happened to be laying on the edge of the tent on the wall the wind was blowing on. Every time the wind gusted it felt like I was pushed over by a huge log. It wasn’t the best night of sleep I’ve ever had for sure, but I survived.

We got up early to pack everything up and drive back to the Denali lodge to meet up with the people that spent the night in the hotel. Some of use were taking the bus into Denali on an 11 hour round trip to Wonder Lake. I’ll tell you all about Denali next time.


~ by twentyfivetolife on August 1, 2009.

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