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Denali Double Rainbow Panorama III | by Grant Eaton
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Denali Double Rainbow Panorama III

This double rainbow was a glorious sight I will remember until I die. The weather service said 0% chance of precipitation for three days. But this is Alaska, where weather forecasts aren't much more accurate than a psychic hotline.


We left our campsite deep in Denali Zone 6 and went for a hike along a braided riverbed. As we headed back, a storm blew in and pelted us with heavy rain. Our cameras got quite wet and you can see the rain drops on our lenses in some of these photos. The sun broke through the clouds as we surmounted the crest of a tall bluff, creating this brilliant and long-lived double rainbow. It was the most spectacular double rainbow I'd ever seen. Looking at these pictures always makes me yearn for the days of that great adventure.


As the rainbow faded away, my partner Ray found an arrowhead or spear-tip on a tall bluff, probably left behind by some of the first human hunters who traveled through this region 10,000 or more years ago. Those first tribes crossed the Aleutian ice bridge to get here. They must have seen wooly mammoths, caribou, and other ice age animals roam this valley floor, which was probably covered by a glacier during that time.


When we finally returned to our tent, we discovered that everything was soaked by the rain because we didn't set up the rain-fly. It was a difficult lesson learned: When leaving the tent in Alaska, one should always install a rainfly no matter what the forecast says. We dried the sleeping bags out enough to make it through another near-freezing night. An unforgettable day on an unforgettable adventure.

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Taken on September 11, 2010