Been there, done that

Antler Creek, about 5 miles south of Healy, Alaska
The day we head for Denali National Park and Wildlife Preserve is post-card perfect. The closer we get to Danali (the REAL name of Mount McKinley) the prettier this mountain gets. At times it is ice-white, at other times blushing pink with sky-blue clouds rolling around it. Gorgeous. Clear. Complete.

This will change. Of course, we have no pictures of this spectacle, because we didn't know how RARE it is to get to see Danali like this, like all the post cards and the amazing paintings in the Anchorage museum show it to be. We're only going to get closer, we said, we'll wait for pictures until the park.

Hahahahahahaha.

We arrive at the park without reservations for any of the campgrounds (their webpage is nearly impossible to decipher, info scattered everywhere, like they want to force you to order the guidebook), but manage to get a reservation for the next day. It takes a bit to find a camping spot; scenic overlooks near the park are adamantly NO OVERNIGHT PARKING. We are NOT in the mood to get rousted again, so we are good little campers and move on.

On our way to our campsite we SEE MOOSE. Two males, one huge, racked, how does he hold his head up? They are standing in a small pond, feeding on vegetation on its bottom. Periodically they dip their huge heads into the pond and come up streaming water from their still fuzzy brown antlers. They are huge and shaggy and brown and glorious. The potential fury...I would NOT want to have to run from a moose.

We get amazing pictures and then camp just off the road by an unofficial trail that leads to Antler Creek, one of the prettiest (and coldest) streams we've seen on this trip. Full of tiny cascades, swirling water, and sparkly rocks, the stream chills our feet and hands. We take pictures and settle in for a drink and cards before bedtime. Lovely spot, peaceful night, and we can't wait to get to Danali the next day.


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