Posts Tagged ‘Denali Highway’

Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 18

May 22nd, 2012

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 17.”)

Part Eighteen: Mile 65.5 Denali Highway, Alaska to Riley Creek Campground, Denali National Park, Alaska (Previously McKinley National Park)

Lake Near Susitna River, Denali National Park, Alaska, copyright 1971 Philip Hyde.

Saturday, July 17, 1971: We were happy to wake up to blue sky between the clouds. We ate breakfast and got away by 8:45 am. Our first stop along the Denali Highway was Susitna River Lodge in a classic outdoors setting for it’s type of tourist destination. Susitna River Lodge offered hunting, sightseeing, fishing; float planes, land planes, helicopters, boats. Philip made photographs. We were impressed by the Susitna River, one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. The Susitna River ran brim full and filled its grassy banks. We were filled as well, looking up river at a wall of snowy peaks. Spruce grew above horizontal tundra green and the sky sunny. Some lands of the middle ground were in dark cloud shadow. Philip made photographs at the bridge and then further on with the lake or backwater of the river in the foreground and pleated, close mountain in the background at mile 88.5. Philip also took a picture of the tundra, Monahan Flat and West Fork Glacier at the high point on the shoulder of the road above the river where we stopped for lunch. Philip walked back the way we came with his Hasselblad 2 ¼ medium format camera for pictures of flowers and the view upstream toward the source of the Nenana River. David found the shoulder blade bone of some animal, an oil can and other assorted junk. Driving on, the road dropped down to an overlook of the Nenana River where Philip made more photographs. At Mile 124, Philip made a 2 ¼ photo of cotton grass and a black stream on the left. At Mile 126, Philip stopped to make a 2 ¼ photo of the mountains across a small lake at the road edge. The mountain across the small lake was streaked with buff orange talus slopes. We turned off the highway toward Cantwell, Alaska and pulled over to buy a loaf of Wheatberry bread for $0.80, inquire about Denali Lakes and obtain directions. We headed out the section of new Route 3, Anchorage to Fairbanks road. Philip stopped several times for views from this road. It traverses the same broad open valley that the Alaska Railroad does. After we turned around at the FAA Housing site we saw the northbound Alaska Railroad train go by. Back on the Denali Highway, we again stopped along the Nenana River for pictures. I made honey cake while waiting. Then we looked for a dinner spot as we passed Carlo Creek. Not far beyond was a gravel track taking off from the main road and paralleling it. We pulled in and ate there. David and Philip went out after dinner and picked out numerous tracks they reported including moose, fox, a dog-type track, moose droppings, and a dead porcupine. David to bed. We drove in the Danali Lakes road a short distance beyond. We stopped and inquired of Mrs. Nancarrow for artist Bill Berry. “He is in the park sketching,” was all she said. We looked up photographer Charlie Ott when we got inside Denali National Park. He wasn’t home. We went to the Hotel and bought the new Washburn Guidebook, Nancarrow silkscreen notepaper, and a new copy of the Heller flower book to replace the one I ruined with water.

Continued in the next blog post in the series, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 19.”

Do you remember the most beautiful river or other outdoor setting you have ever seen? Did you make photographs of it?

Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 17

January 19th, 2012

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 16.”)

Part Seventeen: Fairbanks, Alaska to Mile 65.5 Denali Highway, Alaska

Cotton Grass, McKinley River Trail, Alaska Range, Denali National Park, Alaska copyright 1972 by Philip Hyde.

Thursday, July 15, 1971: Fairbanks, Alaska to Donnelly Creek State Campground, Richardson Highway, Alaska

The day started sunny and progressed to clouds and rain. At 7:00 am the sun was brightest when Malcolm Lockwood left for work as site photographer at NASA’s Gilmore Creek Tracking Site. By 9:00 am when we left Malcolm Lockwood’s home, storm clouds were already gathering. After grocery shopping and gas pumping we drove out of Fairbanks a ways. We passed Alaskaland, then decided to turn around to take David through. Alaskaland combines an amusement park with museums, kids activities, restaurants, shops, educational shows and more. After eating lunch we ventured inside. David liked the paddlewheel river boat and the army helicopter most. At last he had a ferris wheel ride that he and Philip took together. When we got back onto the Richardson Highway and passed through Delta Junction. On leaving Delta Junction, the road became much more interesting than the flat country of the Alaska Highway. The terrain along the Richardson Highway, though also open, presented many wooded rolling hills with small lakes between. We had dinner at a turnout, then dropped down to the broad tree strewn Delta River bed at the base of the Alaska Range peaks. The fireweed and pea vine bloomed in mats out into the river flat. Philip took some photographs along here in the late light. We stopped to look at Black Rapids Glacier. We drove several miles beyond, then returned to Donnelly Creek State Campground. This way we could do that stretch again the next day. The air turned cold and the clouds were solid. We were out of the mosquitos. The temperatures dropped into the 50’s. We heard on the radio that it was 36 degrees in Anchorage.

Friday, July 16, 1971: Donnelly Creek Campground, Richardson Highway to Mile 65.5 Denali Highway, Alaska

We rose at 6:45 am. It had been raining hard in the earlier morning. When Philip looked out the back door of the camper he exclaimed, “Wow,” seeing the Alaska Range peaks visible through a lifting veil of clouds with fresh snow on the lower slopes. We left hurriedly to get down the road for pictures. First Philip made some 2 ¼ Hasselblad photographs before we pulled away, then a short way down the road he brought out the Baby Deardorff 4X5 camera. He drove on and stopped again near the Donnelly Inn Hunting Lodge log and sod cabins. He made more photographs at Darling Creek. At Black Rapids, he made photographs of Black Rapids Glacier upstream of the river flat. He also pulled over at Rainbow Mountain for more pictures. We drove off the main road into Fielding Lake. Fielding Lake was larger than other lakes along the way and surrounded by low brushy slopes and very wet meadows. Philip photographed the abundant wildflowers including Monkshood, Valerian, Mertensia, and Groundsel. On our way back out of Fielding Lake, the rain began again and soon increased to hail. We ate our lunch before reaching the main Denali Highway. Once back on the highway, we soon could see the Gulkana Glacier at a turnout. We also stopped shortly after at the Summit Lake Lodge for gas and propane. We watched a floatplane take off from Summit Lake. We did not stop again until Paxson, Alaska for more gas. We picked up two ladies who needed a ride about 20 miles with a repaired tire for their camper. The Denali Highway started and continued with attractive views of a beautiful alpine setting. The highway stayed high along the ridges, where we were above everything and could see in all directions. We saw rolling mid green tundra accented with darker spruce trees. Lakes and ponds lay in all the swales. The distant snow covered high mountain peaks with snow clouds and mist in veils crowned the scene. Philip made frequent picture stops. Showers continued. We stopped at Tangle Creek Campground to let our ladies put on their tire. We continued to McClaren Summit where it rained hard, but we could still see what a flower garden it was at the roadside. Beyond a short distance, after we looked down at the McClaren River Valley, we stopped for dinner and hoped for the rain to abate to enable photographs. The many ponds below were catching the light. The rain abates and the mosquitos become fierce. After we eat dinner, Philip and David go out on the Tundra for more pictures, both 4X5 and 35 mm. With David in bed we drove on along a moraine top, and stop abruptly for images of a cow moose browsing in the brush close to the road. We made it to Denali Highway Mile 43 by 7:30 pm. Our next stop was at a small pond on the roadside with grass growing in it. A Wilson’s Snipe sat on a post and “cheeped” continually. Driving along the road a few minutes later, Philip suddenly stopped and pointed out the high snowy peaks of the Alaska Range visible almost due west. He was sure we were looking at the slopes below Mount Denali. The light was just right to make Philip a show and having him hopeful that the clouds would part. More pictures at Mile 62 around 8:30 pm. We go on a short distance to Mile 65.5 where we pull off on a track dropping below the main road on the left side and still in view of the distant Alaska Range, which was less clear of clouds every minute. The mosquitos were terrible all night even though the low went down to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Continued in the blog post, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 18.”