Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Parks Highway to Healy

We left Talkeetna yesterday and drove north to Denali National Park. We soon found ourselves on winding hilly roads, passing through some very scenic river canyons. The first bridge we crossed was over Hurricane Gulch, which rises some 260 feet above Hurricane Creek. That canyon was absolutely breath-taking to see. It was shortly after we crossed the Chulitna River that we started getting dramatic views of the Alaskan Range. We pulled over a few times to see if we could view Mt.Mckinley  but the weather was not cooperating. The rain which had started on Sunday was letting up but we still had cloudy skies. We had read somewhere that during the summer on every two out of  three days Mt Mckinley is behind clouds! Nevertheless, our drive Monday was still awesome. Toward the end of our journey we came to the area of Broad Pass, one of the most scenic places on Parks Highway. It is a mountain valley, bare in some places and in others dotted with shrub spruce and surrounded by mountain peaks. And I was surprised to see dry land- no water puddles lying around. I was able to get some pictures once we finally stopped at our rv park, which is located about eight miles north of Denali Park.
Our home is now sitting in a mountain valley with Antler Creek flowing by it. Shortly after we parked, John, my brother Wayne and I took Antler Trail and hiked up to the closest mountain ridge. Below is a picture of the creek as we looked down at it.
While on our hike I also took a picture of cotton grass. There are 14 varieties of this grass in Alaska. Early settlers and Native Indians use to stuff their pillows with the cotton, and the plant also has some medicinal uses. The other plant we found on our hike was low bush blueberries, now ripe enough to eat.

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