Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Kantisha Times

After our flight into Denali National Park, we spent 3 days and nights at the Skyline Lodge in Kantishna.  There are actually several small lodges in that area.

Kantishna Backcountry Lodge
The Kantishna Hills and surrounding areas are a historic mining district dating back to the early 1900s. There are patented and un-patented mining claims in the area, private property and privately owned and operated lodges.

Moose Creek at Backcountry Lodge

Signs of Simple Pasttimes

We stayed at Skyline Lodge, which is a small lodge run by Kantishna Air Taxi.   None of the rooms had air conditioning because it's just not needed there.   The rooms were however equiped with mosquito nets and an electric tennis racket used for zapping bugs.   Thankfully we were there late enough in the season to not have any bug issues.  

Mosquito Net Over The Bed
There were about 12 guests there at the Skyline Lodge.  You meet everyone at the community dining hall and we got to know Mary and Phillip Walters who were there from Dallas.   

The Jolt Bug Zapper

On our first full day the four of us took off on a hike to Quigley Ridge and Wickersham Dome. 
Finding The Way With Mary and Phillip

Lunch on Wickersham Dome

Caribou Antlers

Wickersham Dome is a round bald summit at 3,835 feet.  We found a weather station, a seismic monitoring station and Caribou antlers on a pile of rocks.   No idea how the rock pile got there or the antlers.   The surrounding hills were pretty much the same bald round top mountains.   These rounded hills and wide valleys were created when the entire area was covered with glaciers.  The slow movement of the glaciers ground down the hills and gouged out the valleys to create what is there today.

One the way down from Wickersham Dome we could see the clouds might be starting to break up.   Every once in a while we could catch a glimpse of snow covered mountains behind the clouds.   The direction was right.  Could North America's highest mountain be hiding behind those clouds?   None of us had seen it since arriving at Denali National Park.
Is That Mount Denali?
About a half mile away we saw another group of hikers from one of the other lodges.  They appeared to be waiting to see if the mountain would appear from the clouds.  The mountain only shows itself about 25% of the time so we were not going to miss a chance to see it.

Waiting for the clouds to clear
 Our patience was rewarded with a beautiful view of  Mount McKinley (now Mount Denali)  emerging from the clouds.   Pretty cool scene with the other hikers in the foreground.
Yes!  It's The High One
Tomorrow we will explore Fannie Quigley's Cabin, a beaver pond and the  Eielson Visitors Center.   

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