Trek Alaska: Update #6

Day 13- Denali!
Before even setting foot on this glorious land that is Alaska, I had been forewarned of the mysteries surrounding the largest Natural Wonder in North America. Highest elevation from base (sea level) to summit (20,320 feet), more hikers fail to summit the apex than Everest, yet the most relevant fact is that only 30% of the visitors who travel to see the Mountain actually see it in all it’s glory. The reason being is that “The High One” creates it’s own weather systems which most always has clouds surrounding it’s massive form. As we went to bed last night, I had a feeling our luck was in a good place. I awoke around 2:32am and peeked out into the morning light, but clouds were abound. 3:32am, still a cloak of grey covering the monument. 4:24am, no luck. 8:02am, sun crowning the western trend line, I gazed over to My right and there she was…Denali…in all her mythical splendor. As incredible as this trip has been, nothing comes close to this magical moment! Nary a cloud obstructing this monster.  With an ominous grin,  Denali seems to be teasing me.  Challenging me to remember all that I’m witnessing at this moment, for it won’t last for much longer.  She is beautiful! The grandest sight I have ever laid my eyes on. As I sat sipping my morning coffee, I was entranced by her snow covered glaciers and her commanding demeanor. As small as I felt in that moment, an overwhelming sense of pride came over me. I was part of a small few who has gazes upon this monolith without obstruction. Little by little our trek party awoke and each had their own ceremonial gasp as they took in the view. A quick breakfast was followed by a quest through the paths created by the wildlife in the area.  Each person went their own way and were given alone time to take in all that was around them. Some went to a ridge, others sat in the brush, a few made it to a small reflection pond. The silence in such a surreal location really cemented those memories. Sadly it was time to leave, which turned out to be perfect, for in the short time we had,  Denali had already built a shroud of clouds around her until the next chosen few could see her.  Back onto the bus to civilization, we take the journey through the park, doing our best to spot the wild beasts hiding in the landscape. Luck was truly in our corner today. An alpha wolf slowly trotted passed our bus, while another jetted from one side of the road to the other. A mother grizzly bear was napping while her cubs played in the snow. A herd of caribou frolicked on a ridge. Alaska did not disappoint. 7 hours on the bus,  we arrived in a drizzle to our new campsite. The rain did not hinder our fire making abilities though. As we feasted on the remains of our daily snack, sleep was creeping up on us. Something about the pitter patter of raindrops on the tent roof, rounded out this purely magnificent day.

-Drew W. (Counselor)

Day 14- The Last night in the Last Frontier
We woke up to the sound of raindrops hitting our tents. A simple egg and yogurt breakfast gave us plenty of energy to hike up Curry ridge. I saw a great view of the campsite and the beginning of the Alaska Range. Beautiful! We then packed up the tents, took some trip video scenes and we were off. After a sleepy ride, we arrived at Subway for lunch. So tasty! As we were driving away, we spotted our old bus driver Steve and we all jumped out of the bus to give him a big family hug. After a few more hours we made it to Beach lake. Settling in and napping for a bit, we gathered our hiking gear and took an amazing trail to a vast inlet on the opposite side of the lake. The trip has come full circle as we tried the “human knot” game again. After 45 minutes we succeeded. Our reward was a great campfire dinner around a bonfire, which I helped make. We played the newlywed game with our good friends we made and Sol and I won the game. We also read the letters we wrote to ourselves two weeks ago. Mine was short, I wish I wrote more. I will miss this new family a lot!

-Jake M.

Day 15- A Great Ending
Today was our last day in the last frontier! It has been such an unreal and amazing experience. I am really going to miss it all. As we got up in the beach lake house, I rolled over to Julia’s alarm going off, just like every other day. We had sourdough waffles for breakfast, made by Susan’s husband Jim. I had my usual bagels and lox. It was delicious as always. We packed up the cars and spotted a moose. It was just grazing 30 feet away from us. It was so cool. We headed into downtown Anchorage on the magic bus for one last time. We found some great souvenir shops where I got all my friends special unique gifts. We actually sat down to a family lunch for one last time. I got a salmon roll and it was unreal, so amazing, Alaskan’s have great seafood. The we did some closing activities. Becca made a wonderful video of our whole trip – it was so sweet! It really touched everyone a lot. Then we all got funny achievement plates. There was so much thought put into them, they made everyone smile. Mine was about all the funny/amazing/wild stories I told. Then we saw an Island called Sleeping Lady. Alexis told us the whole tale behind it. Afterwards we did a closing circle with last thoughts and a final one word about the day. Everyone had such a great time and we were so moved. I felt loved and it was like we became a true family. Alexis, Jordyn, Julia and Sol had to leave. I got so emotional and started to cry. Those girls are like family to me. Little by little people kept leaving for the airport and it was finally down to just Drew and me. I will truly miss everyone on this trip. I laughed, learned and loved lots in Alaska. Peace out Trek Alaska!

-Morgan V.

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