if there’s one thing that I learned in Denali National Park & Preserve is that nature is mightier than man. Alaska was the first place I had ever been to where man was not in control of the environment. I gained a respect for Alaskans because not only is the state remote, forcing its residents to be resourceful, but they live in an environment that is constantly trying to kill them. There are earthquakes, landslides, glacial winds, tsunamis, falling rocks, blizzards and avalanches, and let’s not forget the wildlife. Bears will chase you, moose will trample you and worst of all, wolves will stalk you. Man is not on the top of the totem pole. Alaska is unpredictable, temperamental, and wild. Through this trip I gained a huge amount of respect for nature but also for the people who can accept that they have no control over nature, and humbly bow down when the elements are not behaving in their favor. Nature is a beast!
A woman who had climbed Mount McKinley said to me “Denali (what locals call the mountain) decides who she wants to climb to her summit.” It didn’t makes sense at the time, but after being confronted by multiple dangerous close encounters with Alaskan nature, I feel as though Alaska does not show her true beauty to just anyone, but only to those who are worthy. For that reason, I feel exceptionally lucky to see the wonders that Denali National Park & Preserve has to offer. Nicole and I saw lots of wildlife, the park with snow (which doesn’t happen often while the park is open), and we even got to see Mt. McKinley in its entirety. Seeing all of Mt. McKinley within Denali National Park & Preserve is considered extremely rare because the mountain is so massive that it has the ability to create its own weather. Less than 30% of the visitors who go to Denali National Park & Preserve actually get to see Mt. McKinley without it being blocked by the clouds. But we got to see it up close — only 20 miles away from its base!