Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 20

October 15th, 2013 by David Leland Hyde Leave a reply »

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

(Pioneer landscape photographer Philip Hyde, his wife Ardis and son David in their Avion Camper on a 1968 GMC Utility Body Pickup. Continued from the blog post, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 19.”)

Part 20: Layover Denali National Park (Formerly McKinley National Park) Back to Riley Creek Campground, Denali National Park, Alaska, from Toklat Road Camp and Finally on to Savage River Campground.

Kittiwake Bird Rookery Near Whittier, Alaska, copyright 1971 Philip Hyde.

Kittiwake Bird Rookery Near Whittier, Alaska, copyright 1971 Philip Hyde. Flatbed scan of vintage silver gelatin print. See for full sun photos of Mt. Denali and others of Alaska.

Monday, July 19, 1971: Philip woke up first again. We were back in the sunshine of Riley Creek Campground, where we also camped a few nights ago. Night before last we tried Toklat Road Camp, but crowds there drove us back here. Philip at the wheel, took us out of Riley Creek Campground, while we ate breakfast en route toward Denali National Park Headquarters. We made our first picture stop at Toklat Bridge for the view upstream at the Toklat River with the 4X5 View Camera. The wind was stiff and the sky again beautiful with scattered clouds; an utterly different type from yesterday. A short distance on we stopped for our first view of the day of Mt. Denali (formerly Mt. McKinley). This view was not visible yesterday afternoon. By 6:40 am the sky had become cloudless.

On the climb up the road toward Polychrome Pass a red fox trotted across the road. Philip stopped and pulled out his 35 mm camera. David and I remained in the camper cab. Next thing we knew, the fox was trotting toward us with a half consumed ground squirrel in his mouth. Philip pursued the fox. The fox, while indifferent to us, occasionally stopped and looked back at Philip. He said he thought he had made several good photographs of the fox. As we climbed Polychrome Mountain, we stopped again for a picture across the green valley with tawny lower slopes and snow and rock contrasting higher ridges. We made another stop at Mile 47 for a cold breakfast and another photograph of Mt. Denali in the full sun without a cloud. (See for more photographs of Alaska.)

We proceeded to the next photo stop for the braided pattern of a partially dry stream to the North and another to the East of the braided water streams reflecting in the light. By Mile 46, Mt. Denali was beginning to haul in a few clouds. Just beyond Mile 46 and at the top of Polychrome Pass, Philip stopped again for photographs with the view camera and the 2 ¼ Hasselblad. The next stop at around 9:30 am was for a Hasselblad photograph of Caribou on the skyline of green bald hills climbing to Sable Pass, followed by a 35 mm photograph of a bill Caribou on a snow patch at the top of Sable Pass.

Flat tires had become somewhat routine and we had another one at Sanctuary River. We then drove on to the service station at Park Headquarters. After the tire repair, we went over to the train depot to pick up our mail. We met Celia Hunter of Camp Denali, who was there to pick up her group of guests. After lunch and business taken care of, we drove back to Denali Lakes to visit Ginny Wood and Celia Hunter. As we arrived at Denali Lakes, we heard the hiss of air escaping from the tire we just had fixed. We turned around and retraced our progress back to the service station to have it fixed again. We pulled over to the Train Station area for dinner in the Camper. Off again we went, this time to Savage River Campground. On arrival at Savage River, we heard the familiar hiss of air escaping again. On returning to the service station a third time, we found it closed. Thus ended what was fortunately an unusually clear and warm day in Denali National Park. “Big Muh,” as David called Mt. Denali, was in view the entire day.

(Continued in the next blog post in the series, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 21.”)



  1. pj says:

    Interesting as always David, tire troubles and all… you were very fortunate to grow up with these kinds of trips and adventures.

    Hope there are plenty more of these to come.

  2. Thank you, PJ, and for the Retweet too. Funny how the strangest events befall those on the road sometimes.

  3. Jan says:

    You know I am eager to see the photos of the fox. Did any survive? Thanks David!

  4. Hi Jan, I appreciate you asking. I believe I have seen the transparency for the fox. Thanks for reminding me that I intended to explain why I don’t have more of the images from Polychrome Pass here and Mt. Denali and many of the others where the making is mentioned in these travel logs. We are in the process of scanning the archive, but with the commitments involved it takes time.

  5. Greg Russell says:

    Another great installment in this series, David. Really wonderful to read this, and it makes me hungry for an adventure!

  6. Greg, I’m glad you and others seem to like these travel logs of Alaska. As has been suggested by many, they will probably make a good book, especially after we have all of the photographs correlated to each day’s activities.

  7. Mark says:

    It seems your father wanted to head the opposite direction of the crowds, and he was always rewarded for it I imagine. I can certainly relate to that.

  8. Thanks for pointing out that observation, Mark. I believe that my father steered away from the crowds on a number of levels and this is part of what made him.

  9. Candice says:

    It’s always difficult not to plan a return trip when reading posts like this one. Denali is a definite favorite.

    Thanks for sharing, David.

    Great post!

  10. Hi Candice, thank you for visiting. I hope you will also return here, as well as Alaska.

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