***My Apologies for the delay in posting. I have limited internet access and will have less in Costa Rica. I will email the posts that I have written to my mom to be added every day or two***
The glowing green letters of the dashboard read 11:14. 11:14 PM in Alaska means 2:14 AM in Alabama, and even though it was still light outside, we were exhausted. I began to get frustrated as we drove further down the road looking for a free place to camp (it is legal to camp on the side of the road in Alaska). Every place we came to had a “no overnight camping” sign posted, and we were on the verge of giving up and driving back to Denali to try to find a site. Just as we rounded the final bend in the road, we drove up on two young male moose. All day we had been waiting to get a good look at a moose, and here were two, standing not even 50 feet from the road.
I have seen this same scenario plaid over time and again in my life. I will come to the verge of giving up, and just before I cannot go on any longer, the L-rd will reward my persistence. That speaks volumes to me about the character of G-d. He wants to push us to our limits, but if we are persistent then he will relieve us before or just after we can do no more.
Into the Wild
I took a little hike this afternoon. From a vantage point overlooking a river valley, my dad and I had spotted a small herd of caribou, and I naturally wanted to get a closer look. A little earlier in the day, we had heard about a bear sighting within a half mile of where I was headed, so I was more cautious than usual as I left the road side and began a short climb into a flat, marshy river valley.
I crept along the bottom of the valley toward a low hill that I was using to get my bearings. As I reached the first of many fingers of the river, I was startled by a hooting sound. I looked up to find a gorgeous ptarmigan chilling out underneath a bush beside the river.
I removed my boots, as I hiked through warm and cold branches of the river, across marshy fields, and over foot deep drifts of icy snow. I spotted the first caribou as I crested a low ridge, but I was never able to get within 150 yards of it. After about 30 minutes of pursuing this caribou, I gave up the chase and decided to turn back. I picked up my boots from the field where I had left them, and began hiking toward the RV.
Shortly after dad picked me up, we returned to our hilltop vantage point and he told me about the grizzly bear that had slowly been making its way down the valley in my direction. I never saw that grizzly, but later in the afternoon I spotted a sow (mama bear) and two cubs hiking upstream.
Top of North America
Mount McKinley is the highest point in North America, with its peak reaching a whopping 20,230 feet above sea level. It is one of the tallest mountains in the world from base to peak. It is also notorious for being shrouded in clouds and haze much of the time.
The Lord was full of blessings today, because when we arrived at the Mount McKinley southern overlook, we found the mountain standing tall and proud with clear skies all around it. McKinley holds a record in my books as being the subject of my first 600-megapixel image. I captured over 60 over-lapping images which I will attempt to make into one ultra-high resolution panorama when I get back to the Alabama.