by Khalil & Moira.
Day 3 in Denali saw the whole group reach new heights in their hiking abilities. The day’s activity was a long strenuous hike up a river bed with no trail, followed by bush-whacking through dense brush, up to a hill above the arctic meadows. Shortly into the hike most people’s shoes were already soaked from many crossings of the mountain drainage river. Nobody minded however, because they were in awe at the tracks, plants, and scenery around them. Unfortunately some of us could not bear to finish the bush whacking, so we stopped the hike just before the halfway point. We were not disappointed as we returned the way we came, but proud of what we were able to accomplish. That evening we took it easy, and rested.
Khalil’s thoughts:This hike was definitely a first for me. Being out in Denali, off the trails, surrounded by moose prints, bones, scat, mountains, and brush made me feel very isolated. It was a great time for reflection. I felt extremely honoured to be one of only 24 people who walk up that river every year. While bush whacking I felt so close to nature as I followed moose trails and stepped over bear scat. Luckily for us though nobody came face to face with a wild animal! The river crossings and bush whacking was hard, but I think that they were the best parts of the hike.
When I was on this hike today, I felt really connected to the land and the nature around me. Crossing the river multiple times, getting my feet soaking wet each time I crossed it, and feeling the freezing cold water rush into my hiking boots really helped me feel closer to the natural world. Another thing that I felt was really important to my experience today was seeing the large number of moose jaws littering the area along the river bank, as well as the the even larger number of piles of moose scat, and how many mooses (or meese, or maybe even mice; I have no idea which is the best term) are eaten by wolves or possibly bears.