Denali Day #2...

We arose early to give seeing Denali one more chance. Woohoo (sort of).

This image takes some study. While the mountain is blanketed in clouds, you can see it through the layers and it is impressive. Wow. If it was a clear day, it would have taken my breath away. Its magnificence was merely hinted at.

Wanting to get out in Denali for a little stroll, we headed to the Savage River Loop, a delightful trail which travels along either side of Savage River as it carves a canyon between Mount Margaret, to the west, and Healy Ridge, to the east.
Hearing and seeing gulls threw me for a loop. I just wasn't expecting to see them in the interior of Alaska.
 We delighted in seeing several Ptarmigans frolicking in the willows.

Arctic ground squirrels are cool animals. They shelter in shallow burrows on the tundra, usually inhabiting areas where the permafrost does not prevent digging. To survive the harsh arctic winters, they hibernate for seven months of the year, during which time their body temperature can sink below freezing.
The rocks here are some of the oldest formations on the North American continent. These are the Outer Range of the Alaska Range and estimated to be between 600 million to more than a billion years old. So dang cool!

This was my favorite flower of the day. Look at how complicated and beautiful it is.
Now look how tiny it is, compared to the penny next to it. So spectacular.
Today's only in Alaska is the remnants of the Igloo City. Located in isolation, unfinished and closed since 2005, it was cool and sad all at the same time. In 1972, Leon Smith had a dream to build a giant igloo to open as a motel. The building was to have 58 wedge-shaped rooms opening on a three-story atrium. The fourth floor was to be the private penthouse of Leon and his wife Lucille. Leon called the building (80 feet high and 105 feet wide) "Igloo Lodge."

Done mostly by Leon, himself, he finished the exterior, plywood covered with snow-colored urethane insulation, and then he stopped. No one really knows why. Leon's dreaming, however, didn't stop, and he held on to the empty Igloo for over 20 years. Finally, in 1996, he sold it, cheap, to another dreamer. Three years later, Leon died. Six years after that, the second dreamer gave up and put the Igloo on the market, where it's been ever since. Sad but so very cool. We ♥ Alaska!

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Denise said...

So, not sure what you did in Denali Park? Did you drive as far as they let you go, forget 20 miles or so? Or did you take the hiking shuttle into the park for the epic 8 hour bus ride (hiking or tour bus)?

Karen Booth said...

Delightful little flowers. Thanks for the size perspective. And of course, I love the purple ones!

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