So last night I promised more about Denali and our flight around the mountain. I also want to tell you we picked the absolute perfect day for our air tour. Not only was it a clear day but there was literally no turbulence out and back: a clear, smooth day is rare up here. Even our pilot was surprised and remarked on how rare it is to have a day like yesterday.
Now a few facts about the mountain and the park just because you really need some background for the photos. Denali rises about 18,000 feet (5,500 meters) from its base, which is a greater vertical rise than Everest’s 12,000-foot rise (3,700 meters) from its base at 17,000 feet (5,200 meters). So although Everest is higher, Denali is taller. The upper half of Denali is permanently covered with snow and many glaciers, some more than 30 miles (48 km) long. The mountain’s extreme cold, which can be minus 75 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 60 degrees Celsius) with wind chill down to minus 118 F (minus 83 C), can freeze a human in an instant. Denali is home to many glaciers. The glaciers range in thickness but the Ruth Glacier has a measured thickness of 3,800 feet. There have been thousands of attempts to summit Denali but only about half actually succeed.
The national park is 6,000,000 acres and contains just one, mostly gravel, road that is 92 miles long. Over 400,000 people visit Denali every year. The park is a designated wilderness and the challenge with that many visitors is to keep it that way. After spending a week here you begin to appreciate how big the park is but also how threatened it is by civilization and the increasing number of people wanting to visit.
Finally, a few snippets of video as we flew around the mountain.
Nothing captures the grandeur like being here but this is my attempt to share this glorious place with you.
There are far too many pictures to sort through them all tonight but here’s the teaser. This morning we did a 14 mile bike ride from Savage River back to Riley Creek where we are camped. We took the bus out and rode back, enjoying a beautiful morning. Then this afternoon we booked a plane ride around Denali. The weather was perfect and we were blessed with some incredible views of this huge mountain. Tomorrow I’ll sort through the photos and video and give you a better sample of the flight but here are a few teaser shots to whet your appetite.
More to come tomorrow when I have a chance to sort through 120 photos and four or five videos. It was a spectacular 200 plus mile journey by air to circle around this monster of a mountain, larger in mass than Everest and with a larger vertical rise than Everest, though not as tall in elevation. More to come on Denali, stand by.