My Location

No early start today. The weather was overcast and chilly and it was only when it started to look like rain that I made the effort to pack up. After steak (grass fed!) and eggs for breakfast I made my way on the Denali Highway. In some small way parts of it reminded me of driving through the Peak District or Lake District in England during winter only on a much larger scale and on an unpaved road! Of course, the overcast day prevented many of the more spectacular views from being visible today. Before the George Parks Highway was built that connects Anchorage to Fairbanks and passes Denali National Park this was the only road to the park. It is now a less traveled road, gravel much of the way and links Paxson (pop. 20) to Cantwell (pop. 218). During the winter season the 134 mile road is unmaintained but left “open” which means you travel at your own risk and I assume increases the probability of having to turn back or even become stranded by either rocks on the road or bad weather or both. The road actually continues West from Cantwell for a number of miles but I didn’t take that today. Before this road existed,you would have taken the train or plane to Denali and before that you probably needed sled dogs in winter and a good pair of walking boots in summer, not to mention a few weeks to get there! I forgot to mention in my last post that due to it being Memorial Day weekend, I couldn’t reserve the campground I selected in Denali National Park. In any case, the park would be more crowded over the holiday (if it is possible to be crowded in Alaska) so I elected instead to book it for 4 days from Memorial Day (Mon 26th) and check out Anchorage in the meantime. A 250 mile each way detour wouldn’t amount to very much in the grand scheme of things and it would also give me a chance to clean up a bit after two weeks on the road!