In our photos you will be able to tell that Alaska is certainly amazing, magnificent, intriguing, cold, harsh, and an unforgiving land. Here is an interesting story to bring these adjectives to life. Remember I told you that Alaska is a young person’s state. Well for our outings here, there are three different levels, strenuous, moderate, and what they call foray. On the ship they called the foray level, leisurely. Well there is this one woman, who we came to know on the ship, and she and her husband always chose the strenuous level, and she came back bragging about each activity and how easy it was. At Denali, there are twenty-eight people. The first day about 12 people chose the strenuous level and of course our friend had to go on the strenuous hike. Only five of us chose the foray including Tom and I. I go because there is no way I am hiking through some of what I have seen, and it gives Tom more time to take photos. Tom says he can walk at home. Well, today only three people chose the strenuous level and twelve chose the foray level today. Our friend decided to choose the moderate level today, and when we chatted with her once back at the lodge, she was no longer bragging but stated how sore she was. Keep in mind that today’s outing was from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm. Yes, I now understand how Alaska can humble the brazen of individuals.
Yesterday our foray group climbed a mighty steep hill and ate lunch in a hollow. The cool part was seeing the caribou on the top of the hill where we were going to eat our lunch. If the animals seemed disturbed the park rule says that you are too close, so we stopped until the caribou moved off. Stopping was fine with all of us. Tom and I are used to walking at sea level and here we are at 2,000 feet, and I will tell you the air is a lot thinner here. One woman in our group is six months pregnant, and another woman is eighty-three. The eighty-three year old travels all over the world alone. She is used to travel because she and her husband used to travel all over, so I don’t think there is anywhere she hasn’t been, but climbing this hill yesterday was a challenge to our entire group. Glad we weren’t on the moderate or strenuous.
Two of the three taking the strenuous outing are hikers and hike every National Park when they travel. They live near the Appalachian Mountains and hike every weekend. So they are prepared and know what they are doing. I have decided that mountain climbing isn’t something I want to learn how to do. The other person who does the strenuous level is a Civil War re-enactor. He is going to Gettysburg this year for the 150th anniversary and tells some fascinating stories.
Yesterday we also saw a grizzly that paralleled our bus for probably two or three miles. It gave one a good prospective of how fast they are. You definitely cannot out run one. We also saw a red fox. The fox was coming down the road towards the bus, so we got a good look at him. He pounced into a hole and grabbed dinner and ran off. We couldn’t tell for sure what he had, but we think it was a ground squirrel.
The food at North Face Lodge always has a little different twist to it. For example yesterday we had sourdough pancakes with fresh maple syrup and/or fresh blueberry syrup. As I told you all of the blueberries are picked from here. We also had maple syrup sausages. Wow, were they good and since the breakfast was served family style, I ate my share since the sausages didn’t go over too well at our table. Last night we had homemade shrimp ravioli. It was delicious.
“…in Wildness is the preservation of the world.” - Henry David Thoreau
More to follow,
Tom & Holly