Below is a set of daily reflections that I recorded in July of 2016 within Denali National Park and Preserve of Alaska. Nature inspires me to jot down my thoughts and feelings in the moment. These journal entries have become a written record of this incredible journey through our national parks. I hope these simple observations and ideas accurately convey the peace that I found in Denali's backcountry. Enjoy!
7/14/2016 - 5:13 PM: Polychrome Pass
I am looking out at one of the most beautiful sites I have ever seen. A braided river meanders through the open valley and in the distance lie snowcapped mountains, partially covered by a curtain of mist that is falling from the clouds above.
I'm staring into the unknown; a land of mystery and rugged beauty. You can't tame the wild nature of the creatures that call Denali home. The mighty grizzly bear demands respect and humility of all who dare to enter into her domain.
I sit here at the pass as the rain begins to fall. My reflection offers a glimpse of perspective before the journey begins.
Into the unknown.
7/14/2016 - 8:24 PM: Denali Park Road
Under the setting sun lies Denali itself. The name means "The Hight One" and from right here you can see - actually, you can feel its dominating presence. Every face of the mountain is buried under deep snow and ice. As I stare up at it from the side of the road, I wonder how drastically different the conditions are on the summit.
A slight breeze cools me down. I assume at the summit, the wind is whipping at speeds fast enough to knock you down. That power is humbling. It is the power of God.
7/16/2016 - 10:30 AM: Riverside; Unit #10
The clouds pass over the mountain tops before me as I sit beside the Toklat River. The heavy rain has reshaped the landscape; creating an elaborate system of braids. The force of the water current is made known through the loud sound of rushing water. An occasional rumbling is not that of thunder, but boulders forced downstream.
I look over my shoulder towards a mountain slope covered in brush. The mighty grizzly lurks in the shadows. I can feel her presence. My sense of awareness enables a deeper connection to the wilderness. All eyes are on the mountains but its the open valley that calls to my spirit. This channel funnels towards a beautiful, snowcapped ridge beside a glacier.
The cool breeze permeates my outer shell and waterlogged toes shrivel up in my boots. Denali has been determined to test our will; raining sideways one moment, and ceasing the next.
Throughout the course of our exploration we have slowly become more in tune with the landscape. It is our ability to adapt to the wilderness that gives us the right to enter through the gates. The freedom of the wilderness is like no other feeling in the world. We respect the land and never take it for granted.
Pockets of light are blessings from above as the breeze points us in the right direction. I don’t want this experience to end, yet gratitude matches my desire to remain.
God bless the wilderness. God bless Denali.