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THE mountain is out!

USA | Tuesday, 16 August 2011 | Views [341]

First off I will clear up the name of the mountain for those who have not heard this a million times; for those who have, skip to the second paragraph. Denali is the native name for the tallest peak in North America standing at 20,320ft. Furthermore, it is the official name in the state of Alaska. However, state and federal goverments have differnt boards for Geographic Names, so the national name is Mt. McKinley. Why does a mount with a native name and a state regocnized name still hold the name of a man from Ohio who has no ties to Alaska? The answer, since 1975 (when the state of Alaska recognized the native name Denali) representatives from Ohio have petitioned the national board to keep the name McKinley. Therefore, the highest peak in North America is Denali, the high one. Mount McKinley might as well be a small hill in the town President McKinley grew up in.

It had been over a week where we could have seen Denali. From the University of Fairbanks the mountain can be seen, parts of the Denali and Parks highway have Denali viewpoints. We spent three days in Denali National Park itself. And still we had not had a full view of THE mountain. Granted, while in Denali NP we caught a rather unobstructed view of the south and north peaks; better than most visitors ever get. And even a partial shot of the massive pluton from the Eielson visitors center was impressive. But then, while hiking along the K'esugi ridge in Denali State Park, we had a beautiful sunset behind a partially clouded Denali. So much of the mountain was visible and the clouds just enhanced the sunset. It was stunning how massive the mountain truly is. It was a great way to end a good hike; dinner with a view.

This amazing-ness was followed by a cloudless sunrise, even more amazing. I set my alarm early to make sure if it was out, I would see it. Anyone who knows me will tell you I am not a morning person, but when the alarm went off, I shot up as if I had been fired out out a cannon. I peaked out of the tent, there she was, the mountain was out. It was really early and I was cold, but I did not go back to sleep. How can one close their eyes in the face of such beauty? I was up and roaring to go! 

Tags: denali, hiking, sunrise, sunset


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