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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."
The Complete Visitors Guide to the Mountain, Wildlife, and Year-Round
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,
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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