Wilderness Volunteers: 2017 Denali National Park (Alaska)
Designated an International Biosphere Reserve, Denali National Park is truly a park on an Alaskan scale: six million acres - a plot of magnificent land larger than the state of Massachusetts. Across the park's largely treeless expanse, the views are of a scale unknown in the lower 48. Rivers rush wide and milky white with rock pulverized by glaciers. Flower-studded tundra spills away in all directions for tens of miles. Wolves, caribou, Dahl sheep, moose, and grizzly bears roam freely.
If the weather cooperates, Denali (formerly known as Mount McKinley) swallows the horizon. At 20,320 feet, Denali is North America's highest mountain and the crown of the 600-mile-long Alaska Range. The indigenous Athabascan people dubbed the massif "Denali," or the "Great One," and it more than lives up to the name. From base to summit, the mountain's vertical relief is greater than that of Mount Everest. Denali's grandeur will steal your breath away. Our base camp at Wonder Lake Campground is the closest the road takes us to this awe-inspiring mountain.
The 2017 Wilderness Volunteers service project included trail maintenance on park trails near remote Wonder Lake, as well as building and raising a new flag pole at the Wonder Lake Ranger Station. We camped in a designated campsite near Wonder Lake, which is 85 miles into the park and can only be reached by park bus or special vehicle permit. On our free day, we explored the wonders of Denali.
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2017 Denali National Park Service Trip (Alaska)