Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 12

May 24th, 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 11.”)

Part Twelve: Layover Juneau, Alaska At the Mendenhall Campground

Mt. Brooks, Cotton Grass, Shore Of Wonder Lake, Alaska Range, Denali National Park, Alaska, copyright 1971 by Philip Hyde.

Tuesday, July 6, 1971: We showered and cleaned up our gear after breakfast. The Slickrock text proofs arrived in the mail when we picked it up at the Juneau post office. Philip packaged film for mailing. Later he unloaded and reloaded film in the afternoon while David and I explored the Alaska State Museum again. Docent Bonnie Koenig, an Eskimo and Athabaskan Native American explained the displays. We also saw the flower slide shows. Then we walked up town to buy the Heller Alaska flower book. We stopped in at Skip Wallen’s Kayak Gallery to admire his lithographs. Painter Rie Munoz was also there. He’s an artist who works for the museum as well as making bright yarn belts and water color paintings of Eskimo scenes. Next we rejoined Philip in the camper where he had finished his film loading chore. We walked over to the dock area for dinner. Afterward Philip emptied the septic tank. We drove out to Glacier Village and the laundromat for a big wash while Philip put David to bed. We finished other errands and correspondence. Then we drove out to the same Mendenhall Glacier campground for the night.

Wednesday, July 7, 1971:  We visited Sandy Beach on Douglas Island after breakfast. We traveled directly north on the Mendenhall Loop Road and then on to the main road to the end at mile 33. It was a beautiful, clear, sunny day—the second in a row. Philip made frequent stops for photographs. We also stopped at the Auke Bay post office to get more mail out.  We drove around the Lena Loop Road and were impressed with the lovely view from the Lena Beach picnic area overlooking Lena Cove. What a spot to have spent the night if we had known. We turned out at various viewpoints as the Chilkat Mountains were showing up impressively in a long snow façade. We drove down to St. Terese road, walked out across the causeway to the connected island Church hardly visible amongst trees. We became absorbed in the beautiful tilted rock base of the island, much exposed at low tide and surrounded by bird life: gulls, harlequin ducks and the noisiest crows. The din from them continued constantly as the parents were still feeding many of the young. Philip made many 2 ¼ photographs of the rocks and lichen. David had the old kaput Hasselblad body that Philip gave him. He also had his defunct reflex camera turned with the viewer out so it looked like a long lens. He was very busy “taking pictures” of the birds, us, wildflower gardens and so on.  Heading back out the road looking for a lunch spot, we came to some boggy areas that were covered with carpets of Alaska Cotton Grass. We pulled into a side dirt track and parked. Interspersed on the carpet of Alaska Cotton Grass were Rein Orchis, various small blue flowers and lupine. Also growing out of the Cotton Grass carpet, were young spruce trees heavily festooned with moss. While Philip unpacked the 4X5 view camera for this occasion, we all put on our rubber boots to walk around in the wet bog. I cut a bouquet of the Cotton Grass to take home. After lunch we forged on to the road end. Queen Anne’s Lace and Goat’s Beard beautified the roadsides. On the way back we stopped briefly for photographs of fireweed growing on a rock ledge and a short look at the Eagle Beach picnic area. Philip photographed gulls with his 35 mm camera. We didn’t make it to the prettier part of the area, but continued on to Fritz Cove Road completing the loop around it. We hurried into Juneau to send mail from the post office for the last time. We parked where we could walk up to the little Russian church and shops on Seward Street after closing time. We tried to have the GMC lubed, but the hoist was not big enough to raise the truck along with the camper. We rambled on out to the Sandy Beach Recreation Area for the night. Philip tried to send a wire to John Mitchell in New York, but found there was a five week old Western Union strike under way. We learned yesterday that Grandmother Oliver died in her sleep. I told David today. His first reaction was to say sadly, “She gave me some candy.” Later he said, “I’m sure glad I got to see great grandmother Oliver.” Still later he asked, “Are they going to burn her?”

Continued in the blog post, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 13.”



  1. Sharon says:

    Another gorgeous shot of your father’s, David. The composition is excellent!

    You had a wonderful childhood, getting to travel and spend so much time with your folks. Your mother seems to have made it an educational experience, also. I had to laugh at your comment on your grandmother’s death. Kids are so practical.


  2. Hi Sharon, I appreciate your comment. It’s true, kids are so practical, and literal. I guess I was no exception. Regarding my upbringing, I was indeed very fortunate.

  3. Greg Boyer says:

    As children you don’t think of the current everyday experience as anything special. It’s only when you are older do you realize the true meaning of these experiences. You were indeed fortunate to have the life experiences that you did as a youngster. Do you still have any of your early photographs? I think that mine disappeared long ago. I would love to go back through them.

    Best Regards,

    ps. corrected the spelling.

  4. Thank you, Greg. Yes, I have files and files of my early childhood photographs. My father doted on me as a small boy, especially through his Hasselblad medium format camera. He loved to make portraits of my mother and me. There are loads of them and many of them are excellent photographs. He was most definitely a superb people photographer even though that was not what he emphasized. He loved his family and it showed through his preferred medium of artistic expression.

  5. Hi David,
    Your mother sure had a beautiful way to share your daily activities. I especially appreciate her details in all the foliage and flowers. She definitely had an appreciation of beauty. I’m glad to get to know her better through her writing.

  6. Hi Nancy, thank you on behalf of my mother for your compliments of her. She was a beautiful companion and helpmate to my father, as well as the greatest mom ever, particularly in my earlier childhood. I have many, many fond memories. We butted heads later as I moved closer to the teenage years. But I couldn’t have asked for a better mother as a role model of class, etiquette, charm, manners, independence within teamwork, positive attitude, integrity, interest in culture, connection to nature, humor, self-sacrifice, tireless work of many kinds and loyalty to my father in every way and on all levels.

  7. Mike Criss says:

    Nice to read the journal of places I have been. Your mother describes the beauty of the road system in Juneau nicely. It is still one of my favorite places in the state.

  8. Hi Mike, thank you for your comment. I looked around on your website a bit just now too. It is interesting to view Alaska through the eyes and photography art of a native. I like the diversity and quality of your images of the state. I believe you have attained your goal. Your landscape photographs of Alaska do fine justice to the Great Land.

Leave a Reply