Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 14

July 28th, 2011 by David Leland Hyde Leave a reply »

Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log: June 14-September 14, 1971 by Ardis Hyde

(Ardis, David and Philip Hyde in Their Camper. Continued from the blog post, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 13.”)

Part Fourteen: Haines Highway, Yukon, Canada to The Alaska Highway, Mile 1129, Alaska

Tundra, Fall Color, Willow, Dogwood, Fireweed, Denali National Park, Alaska, copyright 1971 by Philip Hyde.

(See the photograph large, “Tundra, Fall Color, Willow, Dogwood, Fireweed, Denali National Park, Alaska.”

Saturday, July 10, 1971: Up early to bake hot biscuits for breakfast. Philip also out photographing early. He saw moose tracks on the roadside and went in pursuit. The wet flats of the Chilkat River were the right habitat. This area was also a wildlife refuge, but we failed to see any moose. We did see numerous snowshoe hares with white hind feet before hitting the road at around 9:00 am. Soon we pulled off for pictures of a mother duck and eight ducklings. By the time Philip got out with his Hasselblad 2 ¼ camera the mother duck was hidden in the grasses. Back on the road we came into a beautiful open valley with a very flat and wet bottom. Soon we were into dense cottonwoods, willows and undergrowth again. Mixed in stunted spruce trees were growing high enough to cut out our view of the backside of Mount St. Elias. We drove into Kluskus Indian Village, situated on an attractive flat along a stream. In the stream, a spruce sapling trap was arranged to catch salmon. The Kluskus Indian Band had log cabins and log caches arranged around the flat. A friendly atmosphere prevailed with a tourist enterprise of hand made objects for sale. We bought a moose hide with beaded décor and a head band for my niece Kris for $3.00. Philip took some 2 ¼ pictures. Then we were on our way again with a stop for water at Dezadeash Lake Resort. We drove into Kathleen Lake Campground for lunch. The road allowed only private access further on, so no good for pictures. A bear appeared in the campground and David was quite excited to see it.

At Haines Junction we made a brief stop for milk at 60 cents a quart and bananas at 37 cents a pound. We were dismayed by roadside clearing all through this part of Canada, at least 50 feet each side of the road. We made a short detour into Sulphur Lake to look. The sky had become quite cloudy over intermittent light showers. After we joined the Alaska Highway, the traffic became heavier and the road surface much more uneven. We could not go over 30 m.p.h. as holes suddenly appeared. The next 4X5 view camera stop was a view of the Kluane Range over the spruce forest in the flat below. Everywhere the aspen trees are dense among the spruce trees. Fireweed is profuse and a lovely magenta under the green Alaska cottonwood trees. We drove what seemed like a long distance following the shore of Kluane Lake. The rain showers were heavier as we stopped for dinner at Burwash Flats Campground, mile 1105. David went to bed and we were on our way again. We gained an hour through the time zone change. We stopped at Mountain View Lodge , mile 1128 to look through their “giant telescope” at Mount Logan. We could not tell which mountain was Mount Logan, but we could see some very high white mountain peaks and glaciers. The land was elevated there over the flat valley through which the Donjek River flows in multiple channels. We drove a short way further and found a gravel pit again on up the hillside overlooking the same view we had just seen of Mount Logan. The mountains are too grey now, but perhaps in the morning they will be good for photographs. It stayed dry the last few hours of daylight, but the sky filled with clouds.

Continued in the next blog post in the series, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 15.

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8 comments

  1. Derrick says:

    How wonderful to share these with us nearly 40 years to the day that they were written.

    Do you remember the bear your mother mentions???

    I would imagine that you have your father’s images to go along with your mother’s notes?? If so, what a wonderful treasure trove; a glimpse into the not so distant past.

  2. Hi Derrick, good questions. I remember bears in Yosemite and Yellowstone, as well as on many other occasions in Alaska, especially the Grizzly Bears of Denali National Park, but I don’t remember that bear in the campground at all. I have many more of Dad’s Alaska images than you have seen on this blog or on the website: http:www.philiphyde.com/, but they are not scanned yet. Thus, I have a limit on what I can show so far.

  3. Sharon says:

    Yes, a book of your mother’s writings and your dad’s pictures would be wonderful. I would wait in line to buy it.

    One thing that I like here is when traffic stops to let mother ducks and their ducklings cross the road. So sweet. I guess we aren’t too far from moose country – I would love to see one in the wild.

    Thanks for more wonderful stories, David. Your mother writes so evocatively, I can almost think they are my memories, too.

    Sharon

  4. Sharon says:

    I meant to add that I think your dad’s photograph of fall colors is something to be studied. What an excellent use of color and pattern!

    Sharon

  5. Hi Sharon, thank you. You have given me some comments that may well help me sell the book when the time comes. I appreciate your thoughtful attention to detail and writing something unique and valuable as feedback.

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