Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Wonder Lake Campground

Sept 7th. Wonder Lake Campground
-Rained All Day

-cold, wet

-My spirits down
-0 miles

Not much to this post so I'm going to take this time to share some things that I didn't write down. I was a bit sad as it was raining and we got to see Denali yesterday. I was also quite sore. So sore in fact that hiking proved difficult. We managed a few good hikes and found this sign. No bear on the hike today. We did see some yesterday riding in, but they had their heads buried in the soap berry bushes. It freaked us out a bit, but in all honesty they were not interested in anything other than berries. Trust me, we say plenty of hot, stinky and berry filled scat. The bears were not interested in us.

Wonder Lake Campground is a pretty cool place. I think that the term campground brings images of RV's, kid filled pools, boats, ATV, & personal water crafts. Not so at Wonder Lake. Wonder Lake is a tent only campground plopped down right in the park. No fences. No nothing. Wildlife could and does frequent the area including grizzlies. It has one access road that is off limits to cars on all but one or two days per year. The only traffic you might see are the Park Service buses that hall people in and out. You do occasionally hear a passenger jet or some small air craft giving a flying tour of Denali. It also just so happens to be roughly 90 miles from the nearest town. Ahhh.......silence.

Because of bears, the campground has sort a food locker where you keep all the bear proof plastic containers. It also has a shelter. On this day, it rained ALL day. We spent most of day in, under and around the shelter. I talked with countless professional photographers. I learned so much on this day. Since I'm a tech geek, I talked to them about all the differences between Nikon and Canon, mechanical vs auto, what tri pod they travel with, bags, etc. I also learned just how hard these guys work. Some stay out in the wilderness for weeks just trying to get a single shot of a wolf. Others had contracts to do bear or eagle calenders. For a camera newbie like me, this was an amazing experience. As I noted in my last post, these guys work hard and all had other jobs. I have nothing but respect for pro photographers.

I also thought I'd share a little bit of information that I thought was interesting about Denali. Did you know that Denali is one of the few mtns in the world that have such a dramatic difference in elevation from its surrounding environment.? Sure there are higher mountains but few, if any, have 18,000+ feet of elevation change from their surroundings.

To put this into perspective. If you have ever been in Denver and looked at the front range. The mountains look pretty awesome. If you are looking at the front range, you are looking at probably 2500 feet change in vertical from Denver to the highest peak you can see. Yes, the Rockies have much higher points, but visually the difference isn't that great from their surroundings. With Denali, it's over 6 times that difference. Think about that.

One other fun fact to consider. Think about driving west from Denver. If you've ever driven up through Loveland Pass, you've hit about 11,000 feet. Consider how high that felt and how long it took you to drive from Denver to that point. Denver is at 5000 feet and you've gone up just over 1 mile of vertical. Now add another 9000 feet, almost 2 miles of vertical and you almost crest Denali. Awesome in every way.


MG said...

Wow... I'd never considered those numbers. That gives it a totally new perspective, and is why that photo from your "Road to Wonder Lake" post (my new pc desktop background) has such an ethereal massiveness to it. It IS massive, and in a way that I've never actually experienced first-hand. I think that's what it is...

Hot, stinky, berry-filled scat... Mmmm... Pass the jelly!

Enjoy the silence.


Guitar Ted said...

I'll be honest Jason, I can't imagine what you saw. In reality it must have been breathtaking, but I just don't have a point of referance for such a thing.

Maybe someday I'll get to see that with my own eyes. Thanks for sharing that.

gNAT said...

It IS hard to imagine until you see it. Stay tuned as I've got another amazing picture to share. Tomorrow's post will probably my last post on Denali.

Jason said...

Agreed. I can't imagine. Hell my jaw dropped when Wifey and I drove in towards Denver for the first time (and every time since too) and I saw the front range. I just cant imagine. Like GT said. Someday! :)

Can't wait to see more pics!


MG said...

Gnat, maybe you need to take Jason, Mark and I up and give us the Denali tour! Then we'd all have the same perspective, so we'd all be on the same page.

heh heh heh... I kinda' like the sound of that.

All joking aside, I fully intend to get up there and take that all in myself someday soon... before the glaciers all melt away. Better hurry.

Enel said...

I think your reasons are why the San Gabriel's in CA always impressed me so much. Essentially sea level to 11k feet in a few miles.

Great write up. I did not know that about Denali.