Expedition Team: Dave Miller, Rosie Miller Expedition Date: July 5, 2018
After hiking all day yesterday we had late dinner at Panorama Pizza Pub and played corn toss with the rest of the G Adventures group. We were tired and slept good. We got up early and drove the 1.5 miles to the park entrance. This was the only cold, drizzly, foggy day of the trip where Mt. Denali was hidden in the fog & clouds. Denali National Park is 6 million acres & is larger than the state of Massachusetts.
The park bus system is designed to cut down on traffic and litter. At the visitor center we paid to take a Denali Park bus into the interior of the park. You could get off anywhere and hike and then meet back at the dirt road and get back on any bus. We first stopped at the 53 mile visitor center for a quick restroom break. We then road the bus to the end of the park road to the Eielson Visitor Center at mile 66, a four hour bus ride each way.
We hiked the Denali Gorge Creek Trail. The 2.25 mile moderate trail takes you down to a fast flowing creek and then back up 1,095 feet to the visitor center. In the misty rain and fog you could not see far ahead on the trail. We kept our bear spray handy in case a bear suddenly appeared out of the fog. Rosie stayed at the visitor center and I was one of only four of our group of 13 that hiked this trail. Jules from England led (Photo#4) and I was right behind her. We finally reached the creek with a cairn (Photo#6) indicating we made it. The creek was fed by snow melt from the nearby Sunset and the Muldrow Glaciers. The trail climb coming back was a workout. Got a photo of some wildflowers and an arctic ground squirrel on the trail (Photo#8).
Inside the Eielson Visitor Center, many nature and geology displays educated us. A chart showed that on today, July 5th, 125 climbers were on Mt. Denali. To date in 2018, 989 climbers tried to climb to the summit with 46% or 459 climbers were successful.