My Location

Leaving my cabin at Byers Lake around 7.30AM the sky was clear and Denali was clearly visible with small clouds floating by its summit. I stopped at a couple of points along the highway to view the mountain and take a couple of the pictures you will see from everyone else that visits the area. Interestingly, only about 20% of visitors get to see the summit because it is shrouded in cloud most of the summer.
On arrival at Denali National Park, I drove to the Wilderness Access Center where you reserve bus tickets for the shuttle that takes you into the park. Private vehicles can only travel as far as the Savage River about 14 or so miles into the park. Past that point only shuttle buses and tour buses are allowed with the exception of those with special permits or those staying at the Teklanika campground for 3 or more nights. I originally wanted to stay there but it is temporarily closed due to being engulfed by more than 3 feet of ice! The park road runs a distance of about 95miles to Kantishna but at this time of year is only open as far as Toklat for buses, about 53 miles. One piece of advice that I already learned is that if you wish to visit the park during July make sure you book the bus tickets well in advance! I was lucky because this time of year things are still only beginning to open. I could spend all day writing about the logistics of maximizing the enjoyment of a visit to the park because it is not the most straight forward of places I have ever visited. For example, although I booked my camp spot at Savage River Campground (mile 13) in advance I had to check in at Riley Creek Campground near the park entrance. I realize I probably missed something I should have read somewhere but I didn’t find out until I arrived at Savage and read the pertinent information on the entrance sign to the campground! That meant an hour or so round trip drive back to the entrance to check-in. If you want to visit the park I suggest you either phone the reservations service or throughly read everything on the park’s website! Of course if you come to the park on a tour it will all be pre-arranged.

Once at my camp spot I got set up for 4 nights and then made salmon marinated in lemon juice with vegetables for dinner. No tinned food at my camp! It’s good knowing that I don’t have to pack everything away in the morning for a few days. The other major positive is that I’m not one of only two people in the campground for a change! Many of the sites are occupied and I actually have neighbors. This evening I shared my fire and good conversation with one set of neighbors, Lynsey and John who were here from the East Coast. They would return the favor two nights later. Thanks for leaving your leftover firewood for my last night!