Friday, August 31, 2007


The main reason of this Alaska trip is today. Today is August 31st. Today is NeNe's birthday. And this was my gift for her birthday. The engagement was not really planned when I bought the tickets months ago. But is was the ice on the cake. The perfect ice on the perfect cake. Going back to the birthday ... we celebrated it in Homer, AK. Homer is an amazing tiny harbour town and it is on the South West corner of the Kenaj peninsula. The birthday was very special ...

... we did camp in the municipal campground on the beach. An incredible tidal beach. The tide today was more than 6 meters high. It was huge. When we set the tent the water was at least 200 yards / meters away ...There is also some very limited nite life in town. But we skipped it all. We just went close to the harbor to use the public restroom. One of the things that is completely missing in the Alaska campgrounds are the restrooms. But that is an other story. The day after it was wonderful. We woke up around 4.30AM with the noise of the waves and the water was just few meters from the tent. We went back to sleep and when we woke up again around 9AM it was gone again. Totally exhilarating ... NeNe celebrated the birthday with a small walk in the Alaska water ... and also some amazing (to me) jelly fish show up to wish her happy birthday ...... happy birthday again NeNe ... :)

Thursday, August 30, 2007


An other day in Denali NP and a new adventure. We took an other cheerful green camper bus ...... and we got till Wonder Lake, the end of the road. Wonder Lake is famous for its mosquitoes and for the reflection of the mountain (Mt. McKinley / Denali). 90 (180 roundtrip) miles from the park entrance. 60 (120 roundtrip) miles for the two of us, because we were camping in the Teklanika campground. Bumpy road, but you can really see how the wildlife is changing. When we left the campground the mountain was very visible. By the time we got to Wonder Lake it was covered by the clouds. So no reflection for us. But also, no mosquitoes. Apparently, due to the little snow and the cold winter we had, this has been a blessed year. Very little mosquitoes in Denali. During the bus ride we did learn a lot. For example the diet of the grizzlies in Denali is 80% based on blueberries. That is why they are not as big as in other areas where they eat salmons. An other interesting thing is that here there are no bees. So is left to the mosquitoes to spread the pollen from one flower to an other. So if you make 1 + 1, you can easily conclude that it is because of the the mosquitoes that we have grizzlies in Denali. From things like this, you realize how wonderful but incredibly fragile are the ecosystems. And how much we don;t care about all this in our daily life spend in our urban cages. Anyways ... once we got in Wonder Lake we went for a bush walk. Actually it turned out the sweetest bush walk ever. The bushes were blueberries bushes. Loaded with blueberries ...
... and we loved them. And we started to eat some of them. Till we decided to bring home some of them. We didn't really have a bag. So we decided to use the water bottles. A unique experience. And no grizzly came out of the bushes to claim his berries ... :) ...We used them also for breakfast for a couple of days. This is our daily oat meal with fresh blueberries. Absolutely phenomenal ...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


The days are really long up here in Denali NP, in the middle of Alaska. Sunset is around 10PM, and the sunsets are really long as well. Here is an incredible sunset, that we captured in Denali NP while we were camping at Teklanika campground ...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


One of the reasons why I was curious to visit Denali NP was because of its wilderness. I thought that one of the most remote and inaccessible US National Parks must have some good wildlife. And I wasn't wrong. We saw a lot of wildlife. And what I really enjoyed is not the animal by itself. I saw tons of pictures of them in Internet and books and TV and DVDs. That is not what you can enjoy here. What is really amazing here is to be there with them (the animals) in their environment and enjoy this beautiful landscape in an surreal quiet and think that this is their kingdom, and fortunately human beings have decided to protect it. Absolutely priceless. Here in the pictures I took, you may / may not recognize fox, wolf (little white spot running from left to right), grizzly bears (white and brown spots), ptarmigan (Alaska State bird), snowfoot, squirrel, moose (drinking in the lake) and caribou ....... we saw also bald eagles. Again, my point & shoot camera is not really that great to spot animals more than 50 yards away. But if I will get one of these monster lenses ...... I won't have anymore room for my sleeping bag in the backpack, so I think I will stick with my point & shoot. And here from much closer some animal skin (grizzly and wolf). I think they either kill them because they were threatening park visitors or they found them dead and they collected the bidy for study purposes. But I am not sure about it.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Mt. McKinley / DENALI

Denali NP is big, really big. Something like 6 millions acres. But it couldn't be different, when you have to make space to the tallest mountain in North America. The native were used to call it Denali, which means The Big One / The Big Mountain. The Americans renamed it Mt. McKinley to honor a politician who became also US president. But now even the National Park Service did change name to the National Park and from Mt. McKinley NP we have now Denali NP. Mt. McKinley / Denali is approximately 20,320 feet (6,194 m). But what is interesting is that Denali is a taller Mountain than Mt. Everest. In fact, even if Mt. Everest is about 9,000 feet (2,700 m) higher as measured from sea level, its base sits on the Tibetan Plateau wich is much higher than the base of Mt. McKinley / Denali. As a consequence Mt. Everest has a real vertical rise of little more than 12,000 feet (3,700) and Mt. McKinley / Denali has an actual rise of 18,000 feet (5,500 m). An other curious thing is that, it is the coldest mountain and with the lower oxygen in the World. This is due to its latitude. But what is really important to keep in mind if you are a tourist is that most of the time the mountain it is not visible because of the clouds. Yes, you need to consider yourself lucky if you come here and you can see Mt. McKinley / Denali. The rule of thumb is that in average, you see it 1 day out of 3. We spent 4 days in Denali NP, and we saw it for 4 days. So I think we were really lucky. Although we saw it from really far away. The closest point on the road is 26 miles away. And I don't have a great zoom in my camera, but I took anyways some pictures for my memory and for your enjoyment. Here they are. The first one is from outside the park. All the others are from inside the park ...

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Even if until 6 months ago I was the first ambassador of the "never ever get married" party, it did happen. And I guess the reason is very simple. I think I found the right person. The person all my friend told me was somewhere, and that I never thought it could exist. And of course that person is Tina, AKA NeNe. So we got engaged in Denali NP. On top of a small mountain. An overlook point for Mt. MCKinley. The hike up there was short, but steep ...When we got up there we were alone. We didn't see Mt. McKinley. But the ring was even better. That was one of the most emotional moments of my life. I have to admit that I cried. Of course we also took some pictures after the "magic moment". If you are curious, here they are ...... and I know, it is strange to share all this in my blog. But this is just to be sure that the friends I don't see everyday will know about it. What else? Mmmmmmmmmm ... we are definitely really really really happy! And after we met in Hawaii, we got engaged in Alaska ... I think we need to find a nice place to get married ... :)

Saturday, August 25, 2007


First day of our trip in Alaska and first day in Denali NP. A myth if you live in the lower 48. It is really big, not the biggest though. It is really difficult to explore, but still there is a 90+ miles road that is crossing it. Only Denali NP bus and few lucky private vehicles can ride this road. From Anchorage we got into the park by bus. It has been a 5 hour ride. A little bit faster than if we would used the train. But everybody say that the train is probably the best way to make the ride. Next time maybe, today we just took a picture of the outside ...
Once into the park we took the bus to our campground, set the tent and we went busk walking. The only way to see Denali. In fact there are no trails in Denali. This is done in order to minimize the impact of people on the environment.The landscape is absolutely fantastic, but what is really impressive is the silence broken only by the wind and by the river flowing. The silence. Something we are not used anymore to.
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