Hello!! Today was the first real day in Denali, and it was AMAZING! Our day consisted of waking up at 7, making our breakfasts and lunches, and heading out to the national park. Once we got to the park, we went on an amazing hike! It was about 4.5 hours long, and we were going up hill nearly the entire way. Even though it was hard, it was totally worth it: we got amazing views of the valley and mountains surrounding us. It was gorgeous!! Once we got on top of a ridge that we had to traverse, the wind began gusting us around at 40-50 mph. It was insane! The temperature was pretty chilly, but the wind made it freezing. However it didn’t stop us; we kept climbing! Once we finally reached the top, we rested, but we had to keep going. On the way down, a lot of high grass was surrounding us… high grass is where bears live :o Luckily, we didn’t see any today! After our hike, we went to another trail and explored! We went down to a secluded, placid lake and saw a moose grazing in the water! I think I took 30 pictures of it, but none of them were good. Mosquitoes attacked me again!! I HATE THEM. After our long day of hiking, we retired to our hostel and ate pizza. Today was a very satisfying day! Tomorrow we are going on another even longer and more awesome hike deeper in the park! Can’t wait!!!!!
Hi ;) today we went on our third hike! In order to get to the hike site, we had to ride on a rickety, old, noisy, and uncomfortable bus for 4 hours!! As we were driving, we saw several huge moose, a few caribou, a sheep, some bears, and a fox! Besides one of the moose and the fox, the other animals were quite far away, so I couldn’t get a good picture. Once we reached the site of our hike, we split into two groups: a group to go on an intense hike and a group to go on a stroll. Obviously I chose the harder of the two hikes. At the beginning, we had to go down a steep ledge sliding down loose rocks. Along with the rocks, we were charging through dense brush. Mosquitoes were surrounding us and trying to get in our clothes for a chance at biting our skin. Once we cleared the brush, we walked through a river bed and explored and admired the landscape. At one point, Mt McKinley’s peak poked out of the clouds way above our head! It was so majestic I could not believe my eyes. At the end of the hike, we had to climb up a steep mountain side in order to reach the road. We had to go nearly straight up through mud and more brush. I slipped and fell, but I saved my camera! On the long bus ride back after our 3.5 hour hike, we saw a grizzly bear right outside the window! It began running, and went straight into a picturesque valley. My shoes had gotten soaked on the hike while I was going across a creek, so my freezing feet had to be bare the entire way back. After the hike, we went to dinner and it was one of the funniest meals I have ever had!! I was laughing the ENTIRE time. I had a steak and it was quite satisfactory. On the way back to the hostel, we saw an extremely bright rainbow!!! It was gorgeous because the mountain peak next to it was lit by the sun. A second rainbow was faintly appearing also. It was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen!! While we were flying down the highway at 70 mph, I stuck half my body out of the window in order to take a picture with someone else’s phone. IT WAS RAD- as Justin likes to say ;) while we were watching the rainbow, we were jamming to some Maroon5 and Muse… needless to say it was perfect. We finally got back to the hostel, had a group meeting, and now at 12:30 at night (and still relatively light outside) I must go to bed!! Overall, today was one of the best days I have ever had J