I hope everyone is enjoying their Memorial Day weekend. Things here have been moving along rather quickly. Since I have moved out to my duty station the majority of my work time has been spent working on my programs. I have developed 3 hikes including a walk about the glaciology of the park, a hike about the alpine environment, and my discovery hike. Also I will be developing a series of short chats about various topics. At some point I will hopefully train with the climbing rangers to be able to have a rescue demonstration at the Eielson visitor center. So far I have only worked at one of our duty stations, the Toklat Tent, because the Eielson visitor Center EVC is not open yet. After my three days off this week we will be in the full swing of things! Then the summer will really start flying by. Here is a view from my office.
So on a more fun note. I have been doing a lot of great day hikes. 3 big ones maybe only totalling a little over 15 miles but the hiking out here is a little different than I am used to. With no trails it is much slower going because at times the brush is over your head. It offers a whole other appreciation for the people who build the trail systems in other parks. The first hike was up a drainage out my front door up and over a pass down and out another drainage. We saw a few grizz and some lambs that were extremely cute. The next hike was across the plains of Muire where Adolph Muire did his ground breaking wolf research in the park to a large glacial erratic. Basically it is a gigantic rock that is completely out of place because it was transported there by a gigantic glacier. Not any cool wildlife on the hike but it was a gorgeous day. My last hike was to my first peak in Denali; Divide Mountain. It is also a walk from my house and a nice half day to the top and back. It was such a great day at the top that we actually had the opportunity to sunbathe at the top while drinking a beer. It was pretty much a perfect day.
The terrain is finally starting to green up at lower elevations and a few of the wildflowers are already out including alpine azalea, purple oxytrope, windflowers, lapland diapensia, mountain avens, and all sorts of colors of willow buds. With this "great" weather we are already seeing fires in the area tho. We have not been able to see the mountain because of haze. It seems that our beautiful month of May is the last time we will consistently see the mountain until August. It doesn't bother me too much with everything that is either on or near the ground, flowers, rocks, wildlife etc. but I think that the visitors may start to complain that they traveled all this way and they can't see the mountain. I can empathize somewhat, but like I said, this park has 6 million acres of awesome things that you do other than look at the mountain.
My first visitor will come out on June 20th, during solstice, so hopefully we can get a cool "night" hike in if the weather is good. Take a nap during the day and then go out about 10pm - 2am and take advantage of the 24hrs of light. I have found that the light does not bother me when I am sleeping but still messes with me in general. For example, you can be hanging out after a late dinner and have a couple of beers. After enjoying the company for a few hours it can easily be midnight if not later and it looks like its 6 out. But once I make the decision to go to bed I sleep through the night without any troubles.
So I will keep taking pictures and documenting the summer as things are happening. Some shots that I am trying to get before the summer is over; a great wolf shot, a bull moose with a rack, a caribou with a full rack, a beaver, alpenglow on denali from wonderlake, and lots of others that I cant even think of. We shall see. As long as I keep going out there I think I will have a good opportunity.
Next week will be my first overnight backpack trip so hopefully things go well with that. I hope everyone is well and I will talk to you all very soon I hope.