Greetings from Wrangell St. Elias National Park & Preserve

I met her while on my week-long backpacking trip in Wrangell St. Elias National Park. It wasn’t something that was planned or on the itinerary, for that matter. As the bush plane dropped us off on the Bremner Mines landing strip, my group decided on making a side trip to the mines and maybe say hello to the volunteer ranger in residence.

70 years old, she has been doing this since 2004. She lives in a small shack about half a mile from the airstrip. A relic from the mining days of Bremner. Amidst the books, pictures, paintings, and her camping gear, there is a claw mark on the ceiling. Remnant of a grizzly bear that wandered into the place, she tells me. Thus began our evening, filled with stories, tea, pop-corn, songs and art.

As we left the next morning, saying our goodbyes, I looked outside the window of her humble abode thinking how lucky I am to have met her. How lucky she is to spend all these summers looking outside that window. I wondered how many more such amazing people are out there in our National Parks, quietly doing what they love. So many stories to share and tales to tell. They are my heroes.

I hope to keep finding them in my travels…


Wrangell St. Elias National Park & Preserve

Covering more than 8 million acres of land, Wrangell-St. Elias is the largest national park site and the largest single wilderness area in the United States.

State(s): Alaska

Established: 1980

“the mountains keep calling...”

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