Ever since I saw the movie "Into the Wild" and I think even before that moment, I had a great urge to visit Alaska. The pure wilderness, the remoteness, the animals (grizzly bears !), the Northern landscapes and of course the freedom were attracting me. Luckily you can catch some great salmon over there, so Max was also eager to go to Alaska; 'The Last Frontier'.
During a round-trip in 2009, we were able to visit the Denali National Park, the place were Christopher McCandless arrives in the movie "Into the Wild" and sets up a campsite in an abandoned city bus, which he calls 'The Magic Bus'. If you are in this beautiful surrounding you can imagine the content Christopher felt being isolated, the beauty of nature around him, and the thrill of living off the land. Unfortunately, he confuses similar plants and eats a poisonous one, falling sick and eventually dying as a result.
Of course, we weren't so isolated. We kept on the touristic tracks..., took an old schoolbus down the only road that runs through the park. The landscape of the Denali National Park is a mix of forest at the lowest elevations, tundra and glaciers, rock and snow at the highest elevations. The best-known geologic feature in the park is Mount McKinley (6190m), which is the highest mountain in North America. The mountain is still gaining about 1mm in height each year due to the continued convergence of the North American and Pacific Plates.
Over 450 species of flowering plants fill the park and can be viewed in bloom throughout summer. Next to this wonderful landscape and ecologic features, Denali is home to a variety of Alaskan birds and mammals, including grizzly and black bears. Herds and caribou roam throughout the park. Dall sheep are often seen on mountain sides, and moose feed on the aquatic plants of the small lakes and swamps. We also saw some smaller animals, such as hoary marmots, foxes and the ptarmigan. Ptarmigan blend in well with their surroundings, all species change the color of their plumage in the winter.
To make this trip even more worthwhile listen to Eddie Vedder's Soundtrack of "Into the Wild" during the roadtrip. Or even at home dream away seeing the pictures and imagine yourself surrounded by the beautiful landscape and wildlife of the Denali National Park. In Alaska, baby!