Alaska's Winter Horizon

Alaska's Winter Horizon

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Denali Trip, Day 3, Part 3

Remember to click on the pictures to make them larger.

Here are a few more photos from the Savage River hike. There are so many gorgeous views along the trail. We walked the trail twice that day for a total of 4+ miles. The second time around, had we been better prepared with extra water, backpack, bear spray, etc. we would have continued along the valley with it all to ourselves. Bear spray would be essential for any further hiking as there are a lot of blind spots and wild game trails that meander this valley.

Greg thinks after several miles this valley meets up with the Sanctuary River. Some hardy souls use small inflatable boats and rafts to float this river. The water must be frigid! The bus actually stopped to let a few people off to float down the river. You're kinda on your own, this is not a commercial rafting tour. Lots of people make a long day of a combo hike/float through the Savage River Valley to the Sanctuary River.

As you can tell from the photo, plenty of places still had snow covering the ground. This is the end of May no less- but you are at an elevation of 2600 to 3000 feet.

In these photos, Greg thought he saw a big animal moving through the dense brush. He immediately rushed up the hill to check it out. No, not really! The area was so wild and untamed that it beckoned for a photo. He carefully scanned and checked out the area before walking into the shrubs. He probably wouldn't have entered the scrub brush if he had heard even a ground squirrel. All joking aside, these places are generally best avoided to hike through if at all possible. Some quick bear tips from former Ranger Greg- make plenty of noise, talk, sing, clap, yell, do not surprise a bear. Don't hike alone in these areas. Supposedly here in Alaska, a grizzly has never attacked a party of 4 or more. Don't go in smelling like a bakery, carry a bear-proof food canister and use it. If you see a bear before it sees you, slowly back away and choose an alternate route.

As we left the park tonight, we were reminded of how vast it was. You could enjoy 1,000 acres of the park each day and it would take over 16 years to cover it all!

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