The further adventures of an Alaskan camper

Although my job can require some crazy hours, in July I’m somewhat on cruise control, with less demands on my time.  Near the end of the month I took a delayed 3 day weekend since I had to work July 4th, and took off for a fantastic trip on the Denali and Richardson Highways.

I was blessed with incredible weather – partly cloudy, low to mid 70’s, and only down to about 50 degrees at night.  The mosquitoes had even dropped down to a tolerable level, unlike the week before.  With extra time and great weather, I was able to get some fine images.

Most of my adventures on the 135 mile Denali Highway are on the end closer to Denali Park.  This trip I focused on the eastern end.

This really is a spectacular road. A very good thing, since my options for drives around here are limited!

As I discovered last year, the region between mileposts 55 and 25 is my favorite.  While the entire road is beautiful, the countless lakes right by the road and views of glaciated 12,000 and 13,000 ft. peaks make for spectacular scenery in a relatively small area.

Mile 38, near the MacLaren River.

At milepost 51. I spent several happy hours here shooting images. Unfortunately, mosquitoes and other bugs we happy to feed on me while I was standing in the marshy water.

I camped right above this lake. It wasn’t an ideal spot – I was right next to the road in a little pullout, but I wanted to make it easy to shoot early/late light photos of this and one other lake.

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The flower season was definitely past prime, but I was still able to catch a few.

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1:44 video of some further adventures from the trip.  Stymied by a stream that took over a side road, tundra swans, getting slapped by a beaver, the headwaters of a glacial river, and a moosey-moose.

I was particularly psyched to get the video of a beaver slapping it’s tail and diving.  If you are wondering why I’m walking so slow over the bridge, it’s because my camera was VERY precariously balanced, and every step nearly knocked it off.

Leaving the Denali Highway, I turned north on the Richardson Highway, toward Fairbanks.  I had forgotten how beautiful this stretch of road is as well! I turned east onto a dirt road heading to the Gulkana Glacier.  A couple of miles of walking took me to the foot of the glacier, which was a pretty cool experience.

At the trailhead I met a marvelous retired couple from Fairbanks.  Scott & Ann were incredibly friendly, and I had a great time talking with them.  Randomly, I ran into them later in the day further down the highway.  I’m bummed I didn’t get a picture with them & their dog.

This suspension bridge takes you safely over the river coming off the Gulkana Glacier. It appears to be made from telephone poles!

Standing at the head of this glacier was a great experience! It may look like just a snowbank in this photo, but the glacier extends several hundred feet above me. I’ve now stood on top of the Ruth Glacier and at the head of the Gulkana Glacier. Next goal – kayak close to a tidewater glacier!

For my 2nd night out, I camped along the Delta River.  Road construction prevented me from accessing the same spectacular spot I had on last year’s trip, but it was still pretty nice!

The next day was long.  Two hours drive to Fairbanks, then 2 hours south on the Parks Highway back to Denali.  I caught a movie and spent $280 in groceries – which doesn’t get you a whole lot up here!

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