Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Day 19: Denali

Well, Denali National Park, anyhow. As for Denali itself, it's no closer than 40 miles to any major road, and it's frequently surrounded by clouds and fog. When I passed through was no exception: it was raining off and on all day. Here's my only shot from within the park in which blue sky was visible:

I think I might have been able to see Denali.

I'm pretty sure Denali is that white rise behind the clouds and closer peaks. What impresses me is not just its height (20,300 ft), but its rise above the surrounding land: this picture was taken from no more than 2500 ft above sea level. As its Wikipedia article points out, Denali has a greater relative rise than Everest.

Well, I was disappointed by the whole Denali experience. Until I tried to leave. (Look on either side of the road, a ways away.)

Oh crap. This would be incredible ... if I was in a car. Much less cool on a motorcycle. The sign at the park's entrance read: "Any wolf that is not afraid of people should be considered dangerous."

They were loping along the road away from me, looking back over their shoulders every so often. Great. The lighter wolf ...

... ducked into the brush. (That photo is on max zoom, right beforehand.) The black one held its ground on the left side of the road. Which left me little option but to go between them. Staying put seemed a mistake, as I could no longer tell the lighter wolf's position; for all I knew, it was flanking me. So I gassed it. Blew past the black wolf, which continued to hold ground, about 10 ft away when I passed it. I could very clearly see the color of its eyes. Yellow. I kept on the gas for a few good miles.

That was Denali. I rode another 100 miles and called it a night.

>>>NEXT: Days 20 & 21: Anchorage & Seward


Mom said...

Jake, Despite the Denali trip not being what you had hope for, you are on an amazing journey. All the pictures are awesome. I can only imagine how fantastic it must be to be doing this whole trip. So glad that you caught the northern lights - incredible how much the stars showed up in the photos. Continued safe travels.
Love you, Mom

Anonymous said...

Hi Jake,

APOD today discussed the coronal hole complete with photo in extreme ultraviolet light and explained how it is the source of the solar winds that created the aurora you saw and photographed. Okay, that is my learning for the day - time to go back to bed.

The wolf adventure sounded adventurous. Where to next?!


Anonymous said...

As always, an incredible journey, in each and every experience. So glad you have been sharing it!


Anonymous said...

I just got all caught up... holy #*@$, you are the man. Keep safe out there!

- Chris