If you are planning to visit Alaska, for sure you know about Denali National park. This park is the home for the highest mountain in North America, Mount Mckinley (Denali in a native language), and probably for that reason it is the most popular park in Alaska. It is true that the fauna in the park is amazing, and also the views, but the trails are not the best. However I want to talk about another park: The Denali Estate park. The name is almost the same and that might be confusing. Also they are very close, but they are two different parks, and it is good to know the different between them.
Well, after our first night sleeping in the RV, our first top was in Denali State Park. This park is on Hwy 3 North. We didn’t know about it before arriving here, but this park is on the road to Denali National Park. Now, we know that it is perfect for starting the trip, and get into to the Alaska experience.The first place that I recommend is at mile 135 (Denali View point South), it is a very good place to see the Alaska Range and on a clear day, there are a good views of the Mount McKinley. This was our first stop and it was amazing. You can sleep there for $10 (there is a restroom and fireplace). We only stopped to take some pictures. The weather was warm, and the sky clear and it was a good place to take a rest after driving.
We continued on our way until a campground at mile 137, where a lot of interesting trails began. We hiked the Tarn Point Trail, that trail becomes difficult near where Kesugi Ridge ascends, but the difference is that you can go to the top, and see 360 degree views. The whole trail is amazing, from the beginning there are a very good sights. I need to confess that we didn’t get to the top we were almost there, but we didn’t completely the 360 views. I still feel disappointed with myself, because it was my fault, but well, now I cannot change the past, and there is an explanation for that.
That day, we woke up very early, at 5:30am. Maybe because of the excitement, or probably because of the jet lag we were ready very early in the morning. We had breakfast and we decided to do that trail before going to Denali National Park (DNP). Walking this trail was an improvised thing. Our plan was to drive until the entrance of the DNP, but as we woke up very early we thought that we could use the day to take a hike. Also we had read in the guide book about that trail, and we decided to do it. It looked perfect for us, and it was. This trail is perfect for a one day hike. Why didn’t we finish if it was so perfect? Well, we didn’t made a good estimate.
As I said we were ready to start walking at 7am, the guide says the trail is 4.2-miles, so we thought that we would get back to the RV at lunch time. First, we didn’t carry food, only some granola bars and two bananas. It was a very bad idea. Second, we misunderstand the guide information. It is true the trail is 4.2, but one way, and you need to consider the incline. So, it took us more than our expectation. Also we didn’t find the correct trail until 1hour later. So, at 1pm we had not catch the top, we were almost there, maybe 10 more minutes, but because I was pretty tired, hungry and worried we decided to come down. In my self-defense, I need to say that the views were amazing, and we thought that the difference with the top it would not be very big.
We would have felt completely satisfied about that hike, but the problem was that when we were coming down, we crossed with a group of people. A woman asked us: Did you see the lake? What?? a lake? Adria and I we looked at each other, and answered with a sad face: No, we didn’t get up to the top.
It was a devastating moment. We knew that we hadn’t finished the trail, but we lived happy in our idea that the views were the same, and now we knew the reality: we had missed the best part.
I felt so bad, the whole day was amazing but we didn’t finish, it was gloomy… Always we will have the bug to finish that trail, but it was a hard lesson.
At the end of the day we promised each other that we will finish every single trail. There could always be a lake at the end…