Rain, Sun, Rain

We camped last night around mile marker 100 of the Denali finding a quiet little spot tucked off the side of the road. Eagerly or not, we were up in the rain and before the crack of dawn at 5:30am – too early for even the sunrise to greet us. We expected to get more driving done yesterday and painted ourselves into a bit of a corner, committing to an early morning work deadline and putting ourselves in an area with no phone signal. It was either drive late, or drive early – we chose early. Though, on day’s like yesterday we really start to miss the long days which graced the north earlier this summer – despite wearing ourselves out, we had more daylight to drive and fit in the rest of life.

2011 09 13 Morning clouds2011 09 13 Early morning2011 09 13 Jagged rocks in marshmallow cloudsThe more we drove into the park the more we found groups of RV’s scattered along, or near, the road with their ATV, boat or horse trailers – folks just out vacationing. Though oddly, we did not see a single person on an ATV, boat or horse. Still sleeping I presume.

2011 09 13 Busy Denali Highway2011 09 13 Horse country2011 09 13 LonesomeWith the sun rising, and the rain tapering off, we drove through the borough’s and eventually it lead to the mountains we had seen off in the distance. Other than a mother and baby caribou we didn’t spot any wildlife the whole drive. Disappointing, given our early start. Though it’s possible there were animals out there, but the dark browns, oranges and blacks of the autumn terrain meant they were likely well hidden. We really only spotted the pair of caribou because they scampered across the road ahead of us.

2011 09 13 Caribou by the Denali Highway2011 09 13 Cascade of colour2011 09 13 River2011 09 13 Scaled down to size2011 09 13 The long open roadWith about 20 miles left, the road turned into pavement and weaved a path out towards the Richardson Highway. Just before the end of the Denali, we found some phone signal and the sunshine. Surrounded by mountains and a river, we built ourselves a fire and got to work while soaking in some rays.

2011 09 13 Zoom zoom2011 09 13 Sun break2011 09 13 Crater2011 09 13 Raging river2011 09 13 On the phone in the office2011 09 13 End of the sun time to move onAfter some lunch we found the Richardson and turned south on to Valdez; leaving the sun behind, and watching the weather slowly deteriorate as we drove. The scenery on the other hand, just got better and better.

2011 09 13 Crossroads2011 09 13 Road to Valdez2011 09 13 Sun fighting the clouds2011 09 13 Roadworks2011 09 13 Fall colours2011 09 13 Distant mountains2011 09 13 Hidden rainbow2011 09 13 Nice2011 09 13 Waterfall construction  Horsetail Falls2011 09 13 Worthington Glacier2011 09 13 Waterfalls2011 09 13 Watershed