After a full day exploring Denali National Park I head back south to camp at Denali View North campsite. Here I met a couple of long distance cyclists who were travelling through the park. In fact one of the cyclists was also a graduate of the University of Cape Town so we had much to chat about. He was a newly minted professor who had recently quit his job to go on a cycle tour. His plan was to cycle from Alaska all the way down to South America, big trip!
At Denali View North Campsite I got my last look at Mount Mckinley as the clouds cleared again that evening. I enjoyed one of the best rests of the trip that evening, sleeping in late thereby missing my cycling friends departure. For the afternoon I hiked around Byers Lake a beautiful little glacier fed lake surrounded by the mountains. There were a couple of campsites on the lake and a network of trails begins here which go up to Kesugi Ridge, a multi-day backpacking trail. I would have loved to hike into Kesugi Ridge and spend some time camping, but again I am going to have to come back with some friends to make that trip. This area is known to be the home of many bears, so I was not keen on going into the backcountry alone. The hike around the lake was just right, on the far side of the lake I found a pristine little beach with views of the Mckinley range. I was so inspired here, that I stripped down and dove into the lake and had a refreshing swim.
After my hike I head to Talkeetna, a little mountain town where three rivers come together, the Susitna, Chulitna and Talkeetna. The town has history as a railroad outpost and there are a number of really old timey looking buildings downtown. I visited the river junction and took a quick walk through the town sampling some beers at the Denali Brewpub. I took lunch at the Flying Squirrel Bakery CAfe, and had an amazing pizza and salad!
Rain was forecast for the evening so I planned to head back to Anchorage that afternoon and find a hotel. I did not want to pack up my camping gear in the rain, and then put it in a suitcase for my flight home. I ended up finding a cheap little hotel downtown and revisited my favourite spot, Revolution Park. I visited a couple pubs and live music venues before turning in for the night.
I dropped the car off at the airport the following day, I had put 1400 km’s behind me. I really would like to return to Alaska and spend some more time exploring. It is a beautiful part of the world.
Denali South: Alaska Trip by Michael Paskevicius is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.