Greetings from Denali National Park & Preserve

The ‘Great One’ speaks! Last summer Frank and I were privileged to visit Denali National Park and stay at Camp Denali, which sits on a hillside just 28 miles across from the crest of Mount Denali. The cabins are spread out across the hill, almost inconspicuous among scattered spruce trees. Our cabin had a queen bed, a woodstove, and a sink. Running water came from the tap right outside the door, and we had our own outhouse, euphemistically called the “house out back” just a few steps away from the cabin.

On our last full day at Camp Denali, I chose to stay in my cabin while Frank went off hiking and bird watching with our friends. I relished the opportunity to lie in bed and commune with the mountain, which was “out.” I had seen it out in so many different scenarios – when I went to the “house out back” in the middle of the night (bright as day!) and it was bathed in a pink alpine glow; or when I woke up at 3:30 in the morning and it was unmasked in its full glory. Some things cannot be conveyed by mere words.

This last day, I had a great breakfast and packed a sandwich and some snacks so that I could just give myself totally to enjoyment. Through the window I could see the mountain, with clouds wafting across its face from time to time, and other times shining in blinding yellow-white light. I napped and ate and watched the mountain some more. And somewhere in the silence a most profound thought awakened in me. It was as if the mountain was transmitting: “You know what? Look at the size of me and the size of you – a little different, yes? Relatively speaking, I am permanent and you are like chaff in the wind, here for a century if you’re fortunate. So i really don’t need you to ‘protect’ me. What I require of you and the other humans is that you wake up and recognize where the true power lies. Appreciate the force that created me, that created you and all life, and respect that.”

I will carry that thought with me for the rest of my life.


Denali National Park & Preserve

Home to North America's highest mountain, Denali National Park and Preserve encompasses more than 6 million acres of varied settings.

State(s): Alaska

Established: 1917

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