Eielson Alpine

Eielson Alpine Trail
(2 miles, +1,000/-1,000 feet).

We got so, so lucky today!  To get near Denali you have to take a 4 hour bus ride (and 4 more hours back out!), and I scheduled that ride months ago, not knowing what the weather might be.  About 70% of the people who take the bus never see any part of the mountain.  But miraculously it was a gorgeous day with lots of sun, and it made today’s short hike one of the highlights of the trip so far.

There’s not much to this trail — it’s a 1,000 foot climb to the shoulder of Thoro Peak where there is a large flat area with views south to the Alaska Range and north to Mount Galen and the plains beyond.  But the views on a good weather day like today are indescribable.  Many of the photos below are redundant because we just couldn’t take our eyes off the majestic work of nature towering above.

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Start of the trail
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Mount Eielson looms above the Visitor Center below
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More wildflowers on the way up
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And more
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Sunset Glacier Valley spills into Thorofare River
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Denali follows us up the ridge
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Looking south
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A Ptarmigan – the Alaska State Bird (thanks for the shot Pasta Jay!)
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Just one small snow field to climb
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Pasta Jay in the distance on the north side of the shoulder
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Denali!
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Vast plains to the northwest
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The whole gang studies Mount Galen…
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and then heads south to the main attraction….
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OMG
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Holy cow!
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Pasta Jay ponders
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Double Sub contemplates
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No one wants to leave
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Our lunchtime view
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Pasta Jay finds a flower…
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…and then falls on his face!
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The hike down was somehow more stunning
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Happy, happy
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View from the visitor center
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Keep Exploring – the coolest band ever!
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