Down Came the Rain and Washed the Tourists Out

Published: August 29th 2010
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Mt. HealyMt. HealyMt. Healy

My second time to the Mt. Healy overlook. I would need a whole day to actually do the whole hike. One of my favorite places to be is on top of a mountain.
Fall has come to Denali Park in August. It’s been raining for two days straight and everyone I know is plumb tired of it. Poor Chris tried sleeping behind my dirt pile two nights ago and was rained out. He hung his tent up on the rafters in the depot overnight and slept in his car. He said he was cold, but dry at least. Good thing school was starting for him soon. He is only working part-time at the depot these last two weeks of work. Bill is getting overtime that whole time as well, which he both loves and hates. But you can stand anything when you know it only lasts five months. Gotta love working the summer in Denali.

My irritation with the rain is the low cloud-cover. Came to see the Mt. McKinley? Forget it, you would be lucky to see Mt. Healy in this stuff. But really, the true annoyance with the rain is my leaky truck cab. Somewhere inside the seam all the water is funneled off my roof and through the cab lid…soaking the foot of my sleeping bag. I’ve slept in the fetal position these past two nights to keep everything dry.
Christina and LeighChristina and LeighChristina and Leigh

Pretending to work, which is what we do most of the day.

And the rain is knocking what’s left of the blueberries off the bushes. They were shriveled and limp last week, and will probably all be gone by next. And the leaves are getting knocked off too. My roommate Emily predicts winter being long this year. Last year winter was short and warm for Fairbanks…usually -20 with very few -40 days. Alaskans love global warming. Logically, it’s better for the ecosystem when the snows are less and the temperatures not as harsh on the animals.

Fortunately, with or without rain, Denali Park has a lot to entertain locals and visitors alike with live band music, dinners, poker, trivia night, open mike-night, and various music festivals hosted throughout the summer. The Salmon Bake, or simple “the bake” by locals, is owned by Dave Coleman...who conveniently owns Prospector’s Pizza, the Canyon Market, Sled Dog Liquors, and the 49th State in Healy. Gossip among locals is that Coleman is becoming more corporate. Most businesses that surround the park are locally-owned, but when one local owns 40% of the businesses, people start to grumble.

Panorama pizza, which is about ten miles south of Denali, but in an area known as “Creekside,” is
Me and the Passenger TrainMe and the Passenger TrainMe and the Passenger Train

This is one of the older trains. You don't see them pulling passenger cars very often.
considered to be a local place that provides beer, pizza, and the game Corn-Hole--which involves the very complex, yet addicting game of throwing beanbags through a hole cut in plywood.

I was planning on heading to Panorama last night to see a local bluegrass band play. However, I didn’t take my ritual after-work-nap until eight-thirty. By the time I woke up at ten-thirty, it was dark and still drizzly. I had left my truck parked at work in case the Park Rangers came by and hassled me about sleeping in my truck again, which is really not any business of theirs as long as someone does not stay overnight. I jumped in the front and drove back to my dirt pile to finish the night off and let others enjoy a hopping Friday night in Denali.

Additional photos below
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Hard TravelsHard Travels
Hard Travels

Even this guys wife took photographic advantage of him.
Company PicnicCompany Picnic
Company Picnic

Me and the drunk lady at the company picnic at the beginning of the season. This was the picnic with free wine and bratwursts. And where I was accused of being a dirty hippy. STILL not happy about that.
Cabin NightCabin Night
Cabin Night

One of the many free (or almost free) things to do in Denali Park as an employee. Dinner Theater--Alaskan style! (A bit hokey yes, but who can argue with all-you-can-eat BBQ ribs?)
Mr. FoxMr. Fox
Mr. Fox

Guess who shows up looking for morning breakfast? I couldn't resist...I gave the little bugger a chunk of my bread.

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