Denali National Park, Alaska
That place is amazing. The sheer magnitude of everything there is sensual overload. It is difficult to describe because there are really no words. Smoke from forest fires and daily thunder storms obscured the distant views, and of course view of the great mountain itself. Was not to be our time to see Denali -- "the tall one." But I have two more visits to the park scheduled, and maybe I'll get lucky. The rangers say that the mountain is only clear for about 30 days each year, and in 1973, I saw it and photographed it from Wonder Lake on a perfectly clear day -- much like the famous Ansel Adams and E. O. Goldbeck images.
Everywhere you drive in this state it is spectacular -- driving south from the park in light rain yesterday, this was the view.
Mile 174 Parks Highway, Alaska
As you can see in the image, it is fireweed season. And even though it is very dry in general, everything where I went the vegetation was lush. The fresh green of the just leafed out aspen against the dark green of the black spruce.
And of course, Alaska is full of eccentrics, part of the nature of people who will live here year round. However, Alaska has changed much since I was hear last in 1976. Back then, it still had a wild feel to it. Towns like Nenana still had dirt streets -- they're paved now. Willow and Wasilla were a few buildings, a gas station, and some houses off dirt lanes. Now they have Dairy Queens and McDonalds, and just about everything any lower 48 town has. Sad, I miss that wilder, more raw time. Oil and the pipeline changed it, me thinks. It flooded money and people into the state, and now Anchorage looks just like any other city its size with suburbs sprawling up the mountain sides that surround it, and shopping malls everywhere. I'm a little disappointed to see this, but then it has been 39 years since I was last here. Thankfully the mountains don't change, and the salmon still fill the rivers this time of year. Might catch a few if I can keep from falling and dunking myself in the river.