(I've posted the pictures here in small format. Click on them to get the full jaw-dropping experience. Fasten your seat belts, please.)
That wonderful Ken Burns’ series on PBS about the National Parks managed to spur me in the guilt node with a piton. I’ve been meaning to tell you about the day a blue dragonfly led me around by the nose, but things like
It all began around the first of August when I was fleeing the smoky city of
The cloud-hidden mountain lies behind these.
We got as far as a state pull-out, where on a clear day you could see
Sunset on Denali's surroundings, but the Great One remains hidden.
Alaskans have a way of doing things they way they want to, and such was the case with this mountain. Established in 1917 as
Denali rises 18,000 feet from the lowlands at Wonder Lake, making its vertical relief even more than
The next morning, after a drumming downpour on my trailer’s roof, the Great One was peeking out from behind its guardian mountains.
From this point and farther down the highway, I took numerous shots of the mountain, as seeing it clear and open, with not a cloud around, is a rare sight.
A little more than a hundred miles from
Taunting, haunting, beckoning, summoning in my rear-view mirror.
The town was packed with tourists. I drove around, herding tourists before me with my truck and camper, looking for a place to park. Finally, I pulled into the parking lot of the post office (Sunday and it was closed), and parked adjacent to a tall stand of trees where Pablo the parrot would be in the shade.
Nagley's General Store on the left. The white building on the right is the Fairview Inn, a tavern of some repute.
After getting him settled in the trailer, I stepped down and my eye was drawn to something blue on the ground. Thinking I might have dropped something, I bent down for a closer look.
A blue dragonfly, the very thing that has been appearing prior to my best adventures. Well, I took the advice I got by osmosis from the dragonfly.
Not too long afterwards, I found myself staring at this:
This is what I was in:
The plane's on wheel-skis, allowing it to land at a paved or gravel airstrip, or on snow and ice.
Glaciers, rivers of densely compressed ice.
The dark stripe on this glacier is from a merging glacier, the dark being crushed rock.
Clear sky and not even a breeze. A truly rare occasion. One last look from the plane:
Foraker (17,400 ft., sixth highest mountain in North America) on the left, Denali on the right. After we landed, the clouds began to move in, and soon the mountain was once again shrouded in gray.
Okay, ladies and gentlemen, we ask that you make sure your seat belts are fastened securely, your cameras safely out of your eyes, and your tongues back in your mouths. Prepare for landing on that little scrap of asphalt you see ahead of you.
Remember what I told you about blue dragonflies.