September 1, 2008

Fall Colors - The Glenn & Denali Highways

We looked into the possibility of taking the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry through the Inside Passage directly to Vancouver Island, our next major playground. After realizing the cost would be over $4000, and that we would miss the fall colors and the famed Cassier Highway, we left Anchorage and headed across the Glenn Highway.

It wasn’t long before the scenery affirmed we’d made the right decision. The fall colors along the Glenn appeared to be just starting and we were treated to a continuous palette of warm fall color as we drove along…again here’s another instance of letting the photos speak for themselves:

While camping on Tangle Lakes a few weeks ago on the Denali Highway, we were told that it’s fall colors were magnificent, and checking the map proved a short jog further north for a couple of days was in order. So, a left at Gakona, and up the Richardson we go back to one of our favorite areas in all of Alaska!

Earlier in the summer, we had discovered this small lake on the eastern end of the Denali, isolated off the beaten path, fabulous mountain views in the background, and a nice campsite right down on the lake’s edge. As luck would have it, not a soul to be seen as we crested the top of a high hill looking down on the site.
The colors surrounding the lake were a treat, but it did appear that the reds were a bit brown and perhaps past their prime. A nice, quiet evening at the lake and up early to take advantage of the golden light rendered more examples of fall’s paintbrush at work in the nearby hills.

A stop at the lodge at Tangle Lakes confirmed our suspicions about the colors. We had indeed missed the “grand show” of the “reds” by only three days! But as we wondered westward Kim continued to point out some fine examples of the brighter hues…..even the swans seem to enjoy this time of year, drifting lazily across the colorful settings.

I stopped along the way to talk with several hunters, most of whom were after a moose for “subsistence” (yes, “we fill our own freezers up here, not only with fish, but also tasty game”). One of the groups was an adult led Boy Scout troop, camped along side the Highway. Although they were not in camp to tell the story, they obviously had success by taking this small “bou” (Caribou).

As we headed back to pick up the trailer and move on, this bright group of poplars on the near hill seemed to be waving farewell from another enjoyable drive along the Denali Highway!