## Monday, September 25, 2006

### AK2006 -- Along the Denali Highway

The Denali Highway (AK-8) is a mostly gravel and pothole filled highway in the middle of nowhere central Alaska. It's closed Oct to May due to snow and cold (and it was Sept 26 when i came through) There are big signs heading into it "Travel Beyond this point not recommended - if you must use this road, bring survival gear and tell someone where you are going". (I did neither) I didnt fully understand the middle of nowhere aspect of this route until i was in the thick of it. Of the 130 or so miles, i saw maybe 5 cars total. It was truly beautiful as it winds in and out of the Alaska Range and glacier valleys, though admittedly when it started getting dark, i spent less time embracing the scenery -- and more time trying to get the hell back to civilization. . .

The Denali Highway winds around the Alaska Range. These were the peaks north of the road. . .

. . .as with much of the trip, the clouds made for breathtaking views. . .

. . .one of many glacier lakes along the Denali Highway. Summer use cabins were also along most of these lakes, though i saw none that were occupied when i came through on September 26. . .

. . . the MacLaren Summit sign, backlit by sun and clouds. . .

. . .a view of the Alaska Range from the MacLaren Summit turnout of the Denali Highway. . .

. . .a closeup of the limited plantlife in the area. . .

. . .the obligitory “Shoe in the Snow” pic. This was actually some of the most snow i saw the entire trip (except at a distance). . .

. . .another scenic view of the Alaska Range from the Denali Highway. . .

. . .snow covered central Alaska. . .

. . .in the distance, the mountains of Denali National Park. . .

. . .reflections off of one of the creeks that drain into the Copper River. . .

. . .the Alaska Range beyond the water. . .

. . .twilight falls over Central Alaska. . .

. . .on the Cantwell end of the Denali Highway, the “Travel Beyond this Point Not Recommended” sign. . .