I had booked a Discovery hike. Doug was taking the day off as he was really not feeling well. Too bad there was no laundromat on site, that would have fixed him up as I would have suggested he could do the laundry. I was told to be at the bus stop at 8:45. As I was heading to the bus I saw a giant pile of bear scat. (Scat is what all the cool kids call it, so, there you go). This meant a grizzly bear was 150 feet from my RV. Not sure I liked that. The guy I was walking to the bus stop with actually took a photo. I have spared you from this. His bus was coming at 9:10. I was thinking that I had been given bad information from Bob the ranger at Edisile Visitor’s Centre and sadly, I was correct. The bus showed up at 9:15. Buddy tells me that they don’t want you to be late. It’s a five minute walk from the campground, WTH! Another couple shows up at 9:05 and they look familiar but I can’t place them. I turn to the woman and say “we have met”, she looks back with no clue. I asked her how she has travelled to get to Denali. She tells me through Chicken, “oh, you are the people who nearly backed in to us”. This is true and we have a good laugh. We are on the same hike together. Turns out her husband was born and raised in Etobicoke. Doesn’t know Doug, but small world.
We all hop on the bus. Dale is our driver and he clearly has not had enough coffee and is sort of grumbly. After 10 minutes of “put your seat belts on, don’t stand up while I am driving, I figure I had better talk to this joker or it is going to be a long three hours to the hiking spot. I ask him how long he drives each week, what he does in the winter, what he does on his days off, and he really brightens up and starts gabbing. We got to a spot about an hour in where he tells us he got married on August 17 2013, right on a peak we were now passing, had a pal drive one of the park buses full of their guests. Rained in the morning, his wife to be was freaking out. He had checked the weather and he knew all would be fine and it was. The sun came out and they could see Mount Denali from where they said their I do’s. Somebody asked if they were the only ones that were ever married in Denali. Not so, many park employees do this. You will all be proud of me for not mentioning that Doug and I are the only people to marry at the top of the CN Tower. It was difficult as if was August 18th an easy ad junk into his story.
We got to Toklat and picked up our hiking ranger. Adamas, a real cutie. It is really sunny and hot and he is really concerned that we don’t have enough water. Bob the Ranger lead me to believe that we were starting from the visitor’s centre so I wasn’t concerned at all as they have water stations. Adamas asks the ranger at Toklat if there is water to spare. He tells us to drink all of the water we have and then refill our bottles. I do this but also purchase a water bottle in the gift shop and fill that up as well.
This is to be a moderate hike. The bus drops us off a few miles from this overlook and we start our journey. Adamas has a couple of walking sticks and offers them up. I take one. The hike starts along the creek and goes up and up and up. We see no bears, caribou, moose or Dahl Sheep but we have practised what we will do if we see one.It is quite beautiful. Denali is now hidden in clouds but you can’t have everything. A magnificent Golden Eagle flys quite close to us while we are having lunch.
We start down and Adamas takes us across scree and moss. My ankles are right on their sides and I am not too happy. I could not have done this hike without the pole and really wish someone was carrying me down. These parks have it all wrong. If they are going to take you on these crazy hikes, call them “moderate” and then call you out for not having the correct equipment, may I suggest that they sell water bottles full of icy water, sell some hiking sticks and make some money on the side. I would happy to set up a program for them.
We get to the bottom of the mountain and then have to go across a river. I have brought sandals and change into them. Then it is up a six foot slope where I nearly get clobbered with a large Boulder. I am not feeling the love. We get to the highway and you have to wait until one of the park buses comes along. Our little moderate hike was four hours! I left at 8:30 and it is now 4:00. There are 12 of us and you know they will send the couple with the two kids first. It occurs to me that this could take some time to get a seat going back to our campsite. A bus comes along in the opposite direction heading to the visitor’s centre where there will be plenty of buses heading back out of the park. I turn to Adamas and ask if it might be faster to head to the VC and catch a bus back. He says yes so impulsively I jump on and wave goodbye to my hiking pals. As we are pulling out, I do the math, 20 minutes to the visitor’s centre, 20 minute wait, 20 minutes back, “what was I thinking”? A bus is now coming the way I want to go back to the campsite and I ask if I can get on that one, “I just want to go home”, I was a bit whiny. The driver pulls in to the middle of the road, signals to the other driver saying he has one transfer and off I hop. It feels like cheating so I hide in the back of the bus. But joy, it is Tim from the other day and he recognizes me as the bird lady and welcomes me aboard. We get to my hiking pals and there are three seats. The couple from my campsite get on and of course are surprised to see me. They also asked, “what were you thinking”. I’ll tell you what, I jumped the queue. Reminds me of my lovely brother-in law who has been known to run in front of little kids to get to the good humour ice cream man before them. His excuse, “kids can’t make up their minds”. Danny you will be happy to know that the Good Humour man comes into some of the RV Resorts we have stayed. I would let you go in front of me. Xo
Straggled back into camp at 7pm. Doug had had a relaxing day but was bored so when the ranger came by to invite us to her “ranger talk”, he agreed. I’m looking at him with my “are you crazy” look but he ignored me. Ok Buddy but I am taking a glass of wine with me. We left half way through. It was bad. Ribs on the BBQ, a stir fry and then to bed. Glad the king is feeling better.This entry was posted in Uncategorized