A Denali Park Pilgrimage, By Brian Miller
At this point, we come upon the Teklanika:
And at the point above where it is indicated "we entered
here" it looks something like this:
The Teklanika is grey and silty, very cold and fast moving.
According to written accounts, there is a cable that stretches across it
to allow easier access to the other side, but we could not find it.
We moved south along the bank, looking for a braided section that might
allow us to wade across, a risky proposition to be sure. After about
an hour of sloshing through very cold, fast moving water that could easily
knock one down, we got across, first John, then me, then Pat. When
we got through it, it was seven o'clock Saturday evening, with about 10
miles left to go, and we all had to be back at work on Monday... sheesh.
When we crossed, I celebrated with a photograph:
Thinking that we were through the hardest part, we soldiered
on. However, the trail very quickly disintegrated into enormous BEAVER
DAMS that turned the very trail itself into a large long chain of ponds!
Fording the dams was difficult, for we had little clue as to their dimensions,
and we ended up walking along the north ridge of the dams, but it would
have been much easier and quicker to go along the south end as the trail
was closer there. So we caught up with the trail eventually and headed
west into a very striking creek valley, thick with tall spruce and crystal
clear standing ponds. There we stopped to rest for a moment, at a
bend in the creek, and heard a human voice! "Hey bear!"
"Did you hear that?" I asked.
"That was an animal," Pat proclaimed.
"That was a guy saying 'Hey bear!'" John advised.
"Don't shoot!" I yelled.
Eventually, three grubby travellers emerged, two women
and a man, with walking sticks. They looked like they had had a hard
We asked them how the trail was and at what time they
left. They said that they stayed at the bus site, and that it was
the best camping
spot in the area. They said that they had left
at three o'clock in the afternoon, which meant that it had taken them 5
hours to walk from there to near the Teklanika. We parted company
and began the long hike up to the top of a hill, indicated by 'hilltop
rest stop' on the photograph above.
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