A Unimog in Denali

Be forewarned!   If ever your travels should take you to the Talkeetna Roadhouse in Alaska, heed the call and only order a half-portion!   It’s just a cool place to stop off as you head up to Denali National Park; something out of the 1940s.   And as we pulled out of that little town, the Cessnas were buzzing all about and above us, ferrying a constant stream of eager mountaineers up to the Ruth Glacier to climb the famous peak; our bellies were full and our spirits soared in anticipation of what lay before us!

I swear, I could hear old Walt’s poem ringing in my ears…

“Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.”
The drive itself is an adventure, the little two lane road meandering around mountains and over the hills, disappearing then reappearing.   We knew that we could get lost and the massive breakfast would power us for two weeks more.
The high latitudes mean that the pines gets skinny and scragly.   Funny looking things and you know you ain’t in Kansas anymore.   Rushing past us, the tourist-laden train speeds on by as we all head north eventually.   Not like the old days, I’m sure.   This park is on every dreamer’s bucket list.  But no worries.   We’ve learned that even a hint of bad weather will likely keep ’em all inside and near the trailhead, leaving only us crazies to push out to get a real feel for the place.
What an amazing wilderness, indeed.   But don’t let the sunny pictures draw you in, the mountain’s shy and rarely shows herself (20%) so adjust your expectations and savor your good fortune to have made it this far.   A hike up and back along the Savage River is so well worth the drive up, but keep an eye out for Mr. Griz!
We’d had our day’s fix of the park, when I spied an adventure vehicle that simply put me in a trance.   If you are out there reading this, sorry for staring…   On the side was painted a crude outline of the world in black with a number of red lines indicating the paths taken thus far.   Oh now…  This is something new as I admired all of the places they’d gone; Along the northern coast of Africa, across Australia and up and down New Zealand, now completing a route up from the tip of South America to … Denali and up, likely, to Barrow; I wonder if there’s a road going that far north?   Now, this is the way to adventure.
Ten years ago, this couple looked to be in their mid-50s.   Tried to sneak a discrete peek.   Both were having a late lunch and hoping that the mountain would “come back out”, at least for a moment; their SLR was at the ready on their dash.   I would love to discover their website so that I may follow their grand adventure.  Perhaps, with a little luck, I’ll catch up to them in Eastern Siberia awaiting the ferry to Severo Kurilsk.   I don’t remember seeing a red line there.
Ah, well.   Another fresh experience to notch on the adventure belt.   Mental note:   Google Unimog when I get back into cell range and sow the seeds with la esposa.
“Cheers, mate.   This looks awfully like the ‘Mog’ that I had spied in Denali back in ’08.”
A grin comes over the elegant chap as he reaches in for a crystal snifter and asks, “Care for Cognac while we wait…?”
Illustration was a compilation of open source imagery, traced, colored, and filtered through FotoFlexer.