Wonder Lake, Denali National Park, Alaska

Latitude 63.45°N Longitude 150.9°W

Friday, August 23, 2002

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It rained many times during the night and by daybreak the campsite wet and frosty cold. The weather was just as overcast as yesterday, and so still no sight of McKinley or the mountain range, which, quite frankly, was what most people were out this far to see. When we emerged from our tent we were surprised to see nearly half the campsites had been vacated. I wondered if that was because of the poor weather or the baby that had cried all night?

Most of the remaining campers, including ourselves, decided to hike the only trail in the area, known as the McKinley Bar trail. The 6 mile hike went down to the river and was quite pleasant, if not a little soggy after all the rain. We returned to the campground, warmed ourselves with mugs of hot chocolate, and chatted with the other campers.

Our activities were somewhat hampered by the lack of trails in the area and our lack of full wet weather gear. Hiking anywhere out of the Wonder Lake area, or even around the lake, meant bush bashing through lots of thick, wet undergrowth, which, without appropriate attire, was an unappealing prospect. And by now we had heard plenty of wonderful stories from the other campers about all the other attractions they had seen in Alaska, and so we decided to give up on McKinley and leave tomorrow morning on the first camper bus at 6:30am.

After dinner that night we hung out with some US Army dudes who tempted us to join them with all this delicious fresh smoked salmon they had left over as well as s'mores. Cultural exchange ensued as Lynsey and Arnoud discovered for the first time how good toasted marshmallows, graham crackers and Hershey chocolate can taste.

Photos: (click on images to see full size)

On the McKinley Bar trailA campsite with a view...Scene from our Wonder Lake campsiteCampsite at duskIt wasn't really cold!Mountain wildflowers with Wonder Lake in the distance

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