In the native Athabascan language Denali means “the high one” and I think it is a special place. To me it offers a rare view into how it would have appeared without human influence (i.e. the Park service are guardians here).
The area is a study in contrasts. At the lower elevations it is primarily forest (Taiga), with Tundra at the middle elevations and snow, rock and glaciers at the highest elevations. Within the park itself there are two different climates. The south side of the mountains have more moisture from the Gulf of Alaska with wetter summers and warmer winters. The mountains block moisture to the north side bringing a dryer climate and extreme temperature fluctuations. Looking to the south, you can actually see the weather and cloud blocking. It is a grand landscape to view with the braided rivers flowing through the tundra and the snow capped mountains in the background. I have to schedule a trip in the fall when the tundra changes into its autumn colors which, from the pictures I have seen, is spectacular. Continue reading