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Snowy Egret, Vol. 75, #1
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Denali National Park
It can be argued that Dall sheep, as much as 20,320-foot Mount McKinley, grizzly bears, or vast tundra expanses, are perfect symbols of what Adolph Murie called Denali's "wilderness spirit."

Indians living in Alaska's Interior traditionally called the  great peak Deenaalee or Denali, while those on the mountain's south side called it a variety of names, including Doleyka, Traleika, or Dghelay Ka'a. The essence of the names' meaning is the same: "The High One" or "The Big Mountain."

Denali National Park
The Complete Visitors Guide to the Mountain, Wildlife, and Year-Round Outdoor Activities
by Bill Sherwonit

Mountaineers Books, 2013


The second edition of this guidebook updates and reorganizes a first edition published ten years ago by the defunct Alaska Northwest Books and now long out of print. It provides detailed information on the history of the region and advice on exploring by foot, train, car, bus, boat or even sled dog team.

The first part of the book, titled "The Story of Denali," describes the natural processes that shaped the place and the varied ecosystems supporting mammals, plants and birds. Wildlife and plant checklists are included in the back of the book.

The second half of the volume is dedicated to "Exploring Denali" with separate chapters dividing it into four regions. Typical visitor information and resources are provided, detailing the location of campgrounds, trails, historical sites, drives and excursions.
Remote Ruth Gorge, Denali National Park, Alaska
Remote Ruth Gorge, Denali National Park, Alaska

Remote Denali

There are huge portions of the park to the north, west, and southwest which are generally ignored when planning trips in Denali. There is a reason: this is "Remote Denali," the national park lands distant from the park road, which are both very difficult to reach and nearly impossible to travel.

What is in remote Denali? To the north and west it is a mostly flat place of intimidating rivers, mixed forest and tundra lowlands, thick and nearly impenetrable bursh, grizzly bears, and huge boggy areas that demand waterproof footgear. The country here is relentless, with no good routes. Even wildlife seems scarse, hidden in the immense spruce forest. In the park and preserve's southwest corner, there are high peaks, huge glaciers, and immense glacial streams, with no easy overland access. No wonder, then, that these areas in most years get almost no visitors at all.


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Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau

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