Dateline: June 23, 2014
This was day two of spectacular, clear weather. The very first thing I did was to walk to the spot in the campground from which The Mountain can be seen to see if it was “out.” Not only was it out, but it was even clearer than it had been yesterday. This is just amazing. Two days in a row of mountain viewing. God is good.
In the morning we took a shuttle bus to a nearby hike along the Savage River. Elaine liked it because it had virtually no elevation gain, much like the hike we took yesterday. I loved it because there were rocky, craggy heights above us most of the way. Our path followed a section of the Savage River, which was flowing at a pretty good clip. We saw a ton of wildflowers, and I took quite a few pictures of them. Not much wildlife. Some arctic ground squirrels, mostly. The best wildlife was a ptarmagin and her two chicks, which we saw right at the end while we were waiting for the return shuttle.
After the hike it was time to move to a new campsite. The next campsite is in the Riley Creek Campground at the park entrance. The park entrance area is a fairly heavily developed area, with numerous visitor center buildings and a loop shuttle bus that takes people to all the various buildings. We found a campsite and then, after a late lunch, headed out on the shuttle to a trailhead for the Horseshoe Lake hike. I had read that National Geographic recommends this hike. Elaine headed for the visitor’s centers on the bus, and I headed off on the hike. This was to be an easy 3-mile (1.5 out and 1.5 back) hike. It turned out to be a bit of a disappointment because a lot of the trail is closed due to re-construction. It wasn’t marked, and I didn’t find out until I had descended a couple of hundred feet and walked about a half mile. Then I had to turn around and retrace my steps. There was an impressive beaver dam to see, however.
When I got back to the camper I received a text from Bee asking if we were affected at all by the earthquake and tsunami. (What???) Obviously, we’ve been out of touch! Bee and I texted for a while, and it was nice to catch up with her. After dinner we went to a ranger program where we learned a bit about fly fishing and about the various sport fishes that can be caught in Denali. The guy presenting was wonderful with children as he let each and every child there try their hand at casting with his fly rod.
We were discussing the fact that it seems like we’ve been on this trip longer than we actually have been. We are both experiencing this feeling. We decided that maybe the fact that it doesn’t get dark causes that feeling. It is the most absolutely amazing thing to go through days and days with no darkness at all.