this weekend, we loaded up the subaru and headed north about 100 miles.
our destination: denali state park.
located two hours closer than denali national park, this less visited and stunning swath of land was the perfect weekend get-away. the park has far less infrastructure than dnp, but sports many of the same attributes as the grand-daddy of all alaskan attractions.
on a clear day, some boast that the state park has views of mckinley that trump that of its bigger counterpart.
our days are rapidly growing shorter and there is urgency to spend every single moment doing joyous summer activities while we still can.
so loaded with bear (spray) we hit the uncrowded and lush campground and pitched the tent.
byers lake campground has well layed out sites that are private and well kept. the latrines were especially impressive. (do i need to elaborate here? i think not.)
we hiked the beautiful kesugi ridge trail which wound through deep mossy carpeted forest. we waded through 3 foot ferns and scrambled up granite rock to reach cascade falls, all while happily munching blueberries that had seen some chilly nights and were especially sweet and ripe.
upon reaching the top of this impressive ridge, we stopped, picnicked in the sun and scanned for bear. then, instead of heading over the ridge on a multi day trek, we turned around and headed back down to the campground.
the ridge runs across the chulitna river basin for more than 20 miles and is the home to amazing alpine terrain. i have read that this is considered one of alaska's finest hikes and our experience was no exception.
most tackle the trek beginning at troublesome creek campground and cross the ridge over 3-4 days, ending at byers creek (our starting point). we simply day-hiked up onto the ridge and tried to wish the clouds off the top of denali. but, as is generally the case, the mountain remained elusive.
this was jade's biggest hike to date. we hiked 7.4 miles with the reward of campfire smores at the end. pretty impressive for a 6 year old and his ancient parents.
hooray for us!