It took three trips, but I was finally able to see the mountain. I visited Denali twice in winter, and both times it was completely shrouded in clouds. I learned that 70% of people who visit Denali never get to see it, the weather being so frequently unforgiving. But on my third attempt the following autumn, I couldn’t have asked for better conditions. I arrived, by luck, 3 days before the only road in is bared for the winter, and only 6 other people got on the bus for backcountry access, I’d never felt more remote and alone, but not in a lonely way. It was nice naturey feeling, knowing there was barely a soul or trace of mankind within 100 miles of me. I had the mountains and the rivers to myself, and it was lovely. Well, not totally to myself, lots of animal sighting including my first pack of wolves! Unfortunately they were on the ridge opposite a massive valley so no worthwhile photos, but to hear a howl when the auroras started blazing away was an exhilarating experience.
Some awesome rewards for braving the cold of the Alaskan winter, I found all sorts of interesting ice formations in the form of frozen falls, glacial caves and lakes locked in 6′ of ice. Granted it took about 6 months for me to regain feeling in my toes again, but at the time it seemed like a small price to pay for such wonderful and unique views.