Denali, Alaska

 

Rain, rain and more rain followed us on our journey.  It was turning into heavier rain which kept us from going to look-outs towards Denali and instead, turned into relaxing family time.  We played Annalise’s game Catan that we just bought and had a movie night.  Sometimes you just need those kind of days as well.  Once we got to Healy, we did get some welcomed sunshine that made is feel like it was time to head south soon for some warmer temperatures.  There is a reason we are planning on settling in Arizona for the sunshine and warmth!

Where we stayed

We stayed over at the Walmart in Wasilla from driving all day and arriving late.  We always love staying over at Walmart to stock up on supplies.  It was quiet with plenty of other RVers there.  It is a 24 hour Walmart so we were a little worried about the noise but it was a great stop.

We planned our next stop at K’esugi Campground just outside of the Denali National Park.  I had thought it was only $15 per night but was actually $30 per night with only electrical hook-ups.  It was also very confusing to get in and pick our spot as some were reserved for certain days and others (very few) were first come first serve.  It took us 3 rounds around the loop to get a spot and figure out the system.  Being it was a little expensive for us to only have electrical and also farther than we would like from Denali, we decided to only stay one night.

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Otto Lake in Healy was our ultimate score!  We marked out a few other free parking locations along the way but we decided to try and go for this one and we got it!  Just 10 minutes from Denali’s entrance there are about 3-4 spots on this BLM land with spectacular views of the mountains.  When we arrived, we parked the rig at the turn off to get in and scope out the area.  The first spot at the top was taken so we walked down to the next and it was free!  It was a very difficult spot to get in with our 43 foot rig but we got it in with patience of slowly backing in and out.  There was also another spot past us but it is only accessible by 4 x 4.  Kenya LOVED running around in that lower spot next to the open field.  These are the types of locations we live for.

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What we did

DENALI NATIONAL PARK

Denali National Park we knew required time on a bus if we wanted to see the entire park.  It is a 12 hour bus ride for the day and we decided to only go to the visitor center and have a picnic.  The visitor center was fantastic and we were happy to just sight see around there.  With so much driving lately we were not keen on spending a whole day on a bus and leaving Kenya alone all day in the trailer.

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WILD ALASKAN BLUEBERRY PICKING

We got a tip from a few full time families camping here in the area that wild blueberry picking in Cantwell was fantastic right now.  We love these free activities because they seem to be the most memorable for us.  As a family, we drove towards Cantwell from Healy and it was almost like a scavenger hunt.  Stopping and hopping out of the truck in search for those Alaskan blueberries.  The cold crisp air of the day did not stop us from finding a spot and digging in to fill our bags with them.  We ventured out, explored and got 4 bags of wild blueberries.  I took in the scenery and my surroundings of mountains, wide open Alaska and blueberries ready for the picking and felt such happiness for these moments.  I will admit I was humming the whole time in hopes to ward off any bears wanting a snack nearby!  It was a fun trip for us and we want to make it a habit of trying to partake in the local foods as much as possible while we are in a spot.

Annalise and I had a lot of fun making a cake and crumble out of them.   Our little oven in the trailer baked the cake perfectly!  Alaskan blueberries are very tart and Annalise was not so found of them on their own.  It was perfect to bake with though and we had run into other travelers who added them to their pancakes too, yum!

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HANGING OUT AT OUR SPOT

Starring out at our score of a spot, seriously we couldn’t believe that we got this spot and actually fit our rig here! It was nice to have some downtime, get a workout in and enjoy our surroundings.

Having this time to slow down and reflect on our journey really had me thinking about the impact we are having on Annalise’s life.  I hope that she always remembers these moments.  Moments of opening the door to a new view of the world whether it be the mountains in Denali, a glacier, a desert or a river flowing by.  Opening up the door to a new adventure wherever we go.

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What we missed

There was a part in everyone that would have loved to have taken the bus ride and seen Denali or at least get further into the park.  We just didn’t feel like going on the long bus ride and were happy with our decision to venture out more around the park instead and get a few things done in the RV.

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