Corvette Road Trip
Traveling America's Roads in America's Sports Car

Maryland to Alaska and Back in a 1994 ZR-1
Part 12
image195The buses are not very fancy which adds to the adventure:

We spotted this golden grizzly bear with one of her two cubs:


This antelope was grazing near where we saw the bear:


The main attraction of Denali National Park is Mt McKinley. At over 20,000 feet, it is the highest mountain in North America. Most visitors to the Park never see Mt McKinley because of the clouds.

image201We were very lucky to get an unobstructed view of the mountain from the park road:

Just a few minutes later the peak was obscured and by the time we got to the Visitors Center, the mountain was hidden.

The end point of the Denali National Park tour is the Kantishna Roadhouse, where we had lunch. We decided that instead of riding the bus for five hours back to the Park entrance, we would fly back and do some sightseeing on the way:

We took off from Kantishna and flew across the relatively flat central area of Denali towards Mt McKinley:

As we approached Mt McKinley, the pilot took us above the clouds at about 10,000 feet and we saw McKinley again This is the north face of the mountain, called Wickersham's Wall, named for the first man to try in 1903 to climb McKinley. This view is only the top third of the mountain above the clouds:


We got very close to the peak:


And then we circled around to the east side where the main glaciers are that were the route for the first successful effort to climb the mountain:


After we explored McKinley, we returned to the park entrance. Along the way we witnessed the splendor of more mountains:


The vastness and scale of the mountains cannot be captured with a camera. The tectonic forces that created the Alaska Range are continental in scale. Mt McKinley is a monolith of granite. It formed from a volcano below the surface of the earth millions of years ago. Since it is a lot harder than the surrounding continental plate, as the Pacific plate slides under the North American plate, Mt McKinley is pushed up more than the surrounding material to form the tallest mountain in North America.