Road to Denali
You may think it is easy to see a mountain that stands 20000 feet above the sea-level. So do I before I went to the Denali NP. The first day we drove from Anchorage, passed two view points from the south. We saw a few high mountains that are covered with snow. Although they seem to be huge mountains already, these are not Mt. McKinley. Mt. McKinley was completely covered by clouds. In the evening, we drove into the national park within the 15 miles where the private vehicles can drive up to. There is a lookout place at mile 9 where you are suppose to see the mountain. Not again. The top half was covered. We can only imagine how tall Mt. McKinley is in our mind. I started to worry whether we can see this magnificent mountain at all the next day when we will take the bus into the park.
We waked up every early the second day as the bus started at 6:45. We drove passed the mile 9 lookout again, still no mountain. We are lucky to see a lot of animals. Someone counted as many as 20 bears, a dozen Caribous and 7 Dall Sheep. For the first half of the bus tour, Mt. McKinley is not in the view, but I can still see cloud on the south. When we passed Toklat River, it started to look better. At the Stony Hill, we finally had a clear view to the mountain. Although there are still clouds, the top peaks all showed up. It lasted until we passed the Eielson Visitor Center. When we got to the wonder lake, the mountain was hidden again. That's the end of the show for the day. In the other word, it showed up for only two hours for the day. When I talked to a park ranger, he told me the mountain will only show up 30% of the time. Now I understand why photographers wait for weeks in order to take a picture of the Mt. McKinley reflected from the Reflection Pond.
The above picture was taken at the Stony Hill. It is one of the standard picture of the Mt. McKinley. The other standard picture is at the Reflection Pond which I didn't get it unfortunately. I'll come back again next time in fall to see you again!