Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Denali Road Lottery

Every year, on the second Friday after labor day, the National Park Service opens the Denali Road to privately owned vehicles.  You can drive your own rig all the way back to Kantishna.  There's one hitch - you need to win the lottery.  A $10 entry gives you a chance at 1 of 4 days to drive the otherwise "tour bus only" road into the park.

Both myself and ma dukes won the lottery.  Too bad is wasn't for $15 Million!  So they made the trek once again to the "Upper 1" (vice the Lower 48), so they could make the trek along the Denali Park Road.

Armed only with a Toyota Tundra, Springdale Camper, lots of Summer Ale, and a -40F Mountain Hardware Ghost Sleeping Bag, we headed north to take advantage of the nearly 7 straight days of bluebird weather.  Especially sobering after 31 days of straight rain in SCAK.

On Friday, we drove out to Eielson Visitor Center and did some hiking.  We took our time and left camp at the early hour of 1100 and got our tickets and hit the road.  We had some pretty epic views of the Mountain on the way in.
We grabbed some lunch, and took in the sights.  Meg scopes out "The Great One."
Instead of following the masses to Wonder Lake, we hiked a trail called Alpine Ridge.
Mom and Paul overlook the valley.
Meg descends back to the parking lot. (my favorite pic of the trip 8)
Old Glory looking proud.
We did get to see a lot of wildlife.  Lots of bear activity, bull moose, lynx, and some dull sheep (yes they are dull).  Momma with her cubs.
Denali at sunset.
With friends Marc and Gayle, we headed out on Saturday again.  This time with the destination of the end of the park road at 92.6 miles, Kantishna.

Again, we had some great sights with even clearer skies.  This is taken from a viewpoint turnoff.
We stopped for a barbecue lunch at the visitor's center, and hung out in the 60 degree temps and bright sunshine.
Yep, we reached the end of the road.  Group picture.  Everyone smile.
Left to right: Marc, Maxx, Gayle, Pablo, Mom, Meg, Matty, Lobita

We all ate another BBQ dinner at Wonder Lake and watched the sunset from the closest point you can get to Denali without landing on the Kahiltna Glacier to start climbing it.  Meg enjoys her b-day present and some Vanilla Vodka and Diet Coke.  ClasSick!
This is what Denali at sunset looks like from the Wonderous Lake.

We had to stop once again on the drive home.  Denali (L) and Sultana (R).
Overall, it was the nicest weather for the road lottery weekend in nearly 15 years.  The morning got a little chilly, but it was crisp and refreshing.  I can't wait until the snow flies...but not before we do some more low water butt-boating!!

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Blogger S said...

amazing pics, weather looks drastically different from our two day road lottery expedition last year

October 15, 2010 at 9:51 PM  

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