There are few truly wild places left on earth, but I feel Denali is one of those places… despite being the “DisneyLand of National Parks.” It has its cons and “Mickey Mouses,” but it’s relatively easy to get away from that aspect and find the wild I mentioned a moment ago. The journey you make in Denali is up to you. I’m not here to argue what you should and shouldn’t do, I’m simply here to tell the story that I made.
With a freshly devastated ankle, I was hardly mobile. But I had made it to a place full of wonder and magic, and in spite of the pain I felt, I would experience Denali as fully as I could. Without a stable tendon, I still summited a smaller peak, explored all the educational centers, and shared a moment with a grizzly bear that I can only describe as “beautiful and dumb.” I commend the Parks and their staff on their efforts to make this place accessible. Every staff member I found, I would hobble up to them with my cane and splint and thank them for making it possible for me to explore even in my wounded state. I like to think that they were happy to see my appreciation.
I tell people, “when you’re up here, things are truly wild. You look a bear in the eye in Tahoe or Yellowstone and it’s like you’re looking at a tame creature; it shrugs and moves on its way. But you look a grizzly in the eye up here and she looks too. You don’t see the same things in her eyes. You see the wild staring back at you with uncertainty.”
But I’ll let the pictures do the talking now.