100 Days of Denali: Day 1

Last year was the centennial birthday of the National Park System.  The slogan for the centennial year was “Find YOUR park.”  I had the opportunity to visit Lake Clark National Park, Katmai National Park, Denali National Park, Kenai Fjords National Park, and Grand Canyon National Park during this centennial.  Looking back at the National Parks I was able to visit last year and all the National Parks I have ever been to, I feel so blessed to be able to experience, view, and capture just some of the beauty out there in the United States.  Off all the parks I have seen, I think Denali National Park is officially my favorite.  Fortunately for me, and all other Denali National Park fans, it is officially 2017 and officially the centennial anniversary of Denali National Park!

When thinking of some way to celebrate this special park I have decided to go on a year long adventure!  It will be my goal to visit Denali National Park 100 times throughout 2017 to commemorate this centennial anniversary!  I know this is an extremely ambitious adventure, but you only live once!  Denali has already given me such amazing experiences, such as biking with the Dall Sheep, waking up to Denali outside the tent, and seeing bears walk by the shuttle bus!  Denali was also the highlight of Josh and my honeymoon.

I hope in the 100 days to not only be able to see more of my favorite park, but also educate myself more on the wilderness, backcountry, and history of Denali.  I hope to share my experiences, trips, travels, and of course, my photos on this blog.  I won’t go into too many plans or details to leave some element of surprise!

This past weekend was Day 1!  Day 1 in the park, January 29.  I had high hopes to start the year off in Denali but a huge winter blizzard with 40-50 mile an hour winds went through Alaska’s interior!  The following weekend, January 7, I was pretty preoccupied with the new furry tornado running through our house!  Between now and then we have had some house setbacks also, including a water leak that forced us to pull up our kitchen floor to the subfloor, a fuel/boiler problem, and some car troubles.

Enough of the excuses though, DAY 1!   We drove down in the morning with a packed lunch of cheese, meat, and crackers!  Nali, the sweet and fluff Samoyed, and Elias, the toothy puppy/alligator accompanied us on the first trip out!  It would be Elias’ first day ever in Denali and his first official walk on a harness and leash!


We made great time, the roads were not bad, even with the warmerish weather (temperatures in the teens and twenties above zero).  It was a partly, cloudy day and we could see part of Denali near Nenana.  As we got closer to the park the clouds seemed to be taking over the mountain.  In between Nenana and the park we got to see a cow and calf moose cross the road in front of us!  Nali loves to bark at the moose!

We passed through the town before Denali or Denali Village which is officially a ghost town.  Most of the businesses were boarded up.  Remembering back to the summer, the town was full of tourists and visitors!  It is amazing how different a few months can make!  We drove into the park as far as you can drive it, which just so happens to be mile 3.   We pulled into the headquarters to get ready to walk the dogs!  It was Elias’ first walk and he was a little weary of the harness.  We didn’t walk too far due to little Elias’ paws getting cold!  The light was beautiful as it lit up the mountains around us.


After a great walk, we were able to spend some time petting, praising, and giving some love to the furry rangers of Denali National Park!  They looked cold and seemed to enjoy our affection!

After all the petting and walking it was time to go check out the Murie Science and Learning Center!  This is the only building that is currently open!  The ranger was super nice and gave us some great information of exciting centennial activities in the park!  We then sat and ate our lunch facing the beautiful scenery!

After our late lunch it was time to head back to Fairbanks!  We had a very beautiful and successful day in Denali National Park!  1 day down, 99 to go!

One Comment Add yours

  1. Roberta says:

    Hi Laura,
    Nice to see your day 1. We met you, my husband Henry and myself Roberta, on your day 42. We were sitting on the bus across the aisle from you. I will continue to follow you. Have an awesome summer. Roberta and Henry


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