Honeymoon Day 12: Denali National Park and Preserve, Kantishna Roadhouse

This post is admittedly not about Sprout. In fact, it is pre-Sprout. However, we thought some people may be interested in our Alaskan travel and wanted to move our prior posts to this blog. This is post 12 of 13 in our Honeymoon Series.

Location: Denali National Park and Preserve

Rest was difficult to come by, as Aaron was getting over a nasty head cold he picked up in Seward that Jacqui was just beginning to incubate. They both felt like raw eggs beaten in a bath towel.

The strenuous hike the guides selected for today was very similar to the previous day’s, so we decided to hike on our own.  The guides highly recommended a hike through a wooded valley along Eldorado Creek that flows into the larger Moose Creek that runs by the lodge. They did warn us that our feet would get wet, and we thought, “Been there, done that” as we recalled the mines hike in Kennicott (see above). We set off looking for the bridge to cross Moose Creek. We found a network of trails along the creek next to the lodge. They were mostly empty of other lodgers due to the thick clouds of mosquitoes, but in our stylish head nets, we explored the labyrinth. We found several paths to the stream, however, no bridge. We trudged back to ask for better instructions from the guides, and they looked puzzled as we asked about the bridge. Apparently, getting your feet wet, to them, means hiking in knee deep water most of the time. Given Jacqui’s sensitivities to cold and wet, we decided against the hike though creeks swollen with snow melt.

After several bouts of indecision, we opted to retrace our bike route from yesterday, extending it to the McKinley Bar trail, which descends into the banks of the glacial valley running along Denali’s base. We biked the 3.2 miles (mostly uphill) to Wonder Lake. In order to avoid the dusty road, we began to hike through the marshy tundra along the Lake. We quickly ran out of steam since we had to make our own path across the spongy mosses and gnarled, knee-high shrubs. We gave up and moved onto the road, but decided we would stop at the reflection pond first for lunch. We decided to explore a path behind the reflection pond caught our eyes. It took us over the lip of a hill with a view that mesmerized us for an hour and a half (see picture). We were tempted to take a nap in this peaceful spot, but feared being trampled by a bear or moose. Having thoroughly appreciated our closer view of Denali we turned back for the lodge.

Tomorrow we board the bus at 6:15am for almost 24 hours of travel back to Virginia.

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