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 15.”)
Part Sixteen: The Alaska Highway, Mile 1337 to Fairbanks, Alaska
(See the photograph larger, “Fall Tundra Near Brushkana Creek, Denali Highway, Alaska Highway In Distance, Alaska.”)
Monday, July 12, 1971: We awoke at 6:00 a.m. to rain showers, but the visibility improved and the sun even came out between showers. We spent the morning right at our camp while Philip photographed the swallows. We also did office chores, each took showers and I baked bread. We ate lunch also before leaving. The Alaska Range was clear of the clouds with sunshine on all the peaks. After leaving at 12:10 p.m., we made some picture stops for flowers with the 35 mm camera. We stopped at Mile 1377 for yellow poppies and wild aster. At Mile 1379 we stopped for Larkspur where a scenic turnout, several campers and two tour buses brought out a swarm of people. We also stopped at Johnson Road Bridge for Philip to make photographs upstream. Mile 1381 presented a roadside cut bank for a flower garden with poppies in white, yellow, coral, orange, pale and deep pinks. A stunning sight that Philip photographed in 35 mm and 4X5 view camera. Some wind, but not enough to spoil the picture show. I gathered seeds as plants had everything from flower buds to ripe and dry fruit pads on them. It grew cloudier now, almost solid overcast. At the Big Gerstle River Bridge, Mile 1392.8, we descended by gravel road out onto the gravel river bed for the view and a 4X5 photograph back at the Alaska Range, rising in height now and showing some glacier laden peaks. David played with the spread of stream pebbles. Philip was pleased with the photographs he made of the Alaska Range here. We stopped at Delta Junction for gas. We found an overlook of the Tanana River flats, but the mountains were cloud-veiled so we at dinner and waited. Philip exposed a 4X5 color transparency, but had to retreat before he could get a black and white negative because of rain. It was very humid. We have started seeing Arctic Larch trees. The Arctic Larch are about the same size as the Spruce here, but with lighter, feathery foliage. After dinner we continued North with David in bed. Soon we were coming into birch stands. It was wonderful to see a native forest of birch trees. We arrived at Harding Lake Campground and decided to spend the night as it was now raining harder. The fee was $2.00 for Harding Lake because it was a new state campground. We used the dumping facilities. Philip had to change the right front tire for the second time. It was one we had repaired in Juneau. The surroundings consisted of a mixed birch and spruce forest with a moss carpet. Douglas squirrels and snowshoe rabbits were common. It was a warm, though wet night, only getting down to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Tuesday, July 13, 1971: We woke up at 6:00 a.m. to rain and left Harding Lake Campground about 8:30 am. We drove through the big campground and along Harding Lake, then out to the Alaska Highway. Intermittent houses and businesses appeared along the highway all the way into Fairbanks. The dirt Alaska Highway would soon be replaced by a freeway that was under construction from Eielson Air Force Base into Fairbanks. We stopped along the runway to watch a B-52 Jet Bomber taxi out to the runway. We waited but they didn’t take off. We headed on into Fairbanks by 10:00 a.m. Our first destination was a service station to get the tire fixed. I shopped next door at Traveland. Then we drove on to the parking area next to the China River Restaurant where we ate lunch. We crossed the Eagle River over a bridge to the Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce located in a sod roofed log house. Then we headed out to the College and the University of Alaska Museum, the Student Union, bookstore and so on. Drove over to Malcolm Lockwood’s home where we met Jean and her daughter Elisha. In the evening I went with Malcolm’s mother to look at Eskimo made objects. I bought a group for Christmas presents. Philip looked at prints of the University of Alaska’s Museum staff photographer Barry McWayne.
Wednesday, July 14, 1971: We spent the overcast and partly rainy day mainly visiting with Malcolm Lockwood’s family. David and Elisha played very well together. Philip and Malcolm Lockwood were in conversations about photography or out on a short field trip in the afternoon to a birch grove with Barry McWayne. I wrote letters, baked cookies and baked bread. About dinnertime the sun began to come out, but most of the day had been grey with rain off and on.
Continued in the blog post, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 17.”