Last Friday, on one of my few remaining days off, I decided to take a glacier landing flight around Mt. McKinley.
After putting on glacier shoes, prepping my camera and lying about my weight on the paperwork (don’t worry, it was only by a few
20 lbs.), I boarded the 8-passenger, 60s era de Havilland Beaver. Our flight took us over Healy (the town where I live), Glitter Gulch (the canyon where the lodge is located) and Denali National Park.
From the air, the fall colors were incredible. Splotches of red, yellow, orange, and purple all mixing together as far as the eye could see. As we got closer to the mountain the jagged peaks of the Alaska Range were covered with more and more white, untouched snow. Here and there the cracks in the ice shone bright blue.
The weather was perfect and the pilot said it was the best day all summer (yay!). The 2.5 hour flight took us right up and around the cloudless Mt. McKinley. We were able to get quite close and could even see the huge icecicles hanging from outcroppings of snow on the mountain, some are up to 50 feet long!
After flying around the mountain a few times, the pilot landed on Eldridge glacier.
After snapping a few photos, I just walked around and took it all in. I was walking on a freakin’ glacier!
I was thankful for the glacier shoes, as in some spots my feet sank down into the snow a good foot or so.
We spent about a half hour on the glacier then boarded the plane to head home.
The whole time I just kept thinking how amazing it all was and how lucky I was to be experiencing it. Not many people can say they flew right up next to the tallest mountain in North America then landed on a glacier in it’s shadow!
Just another Denali memory I will cherish forever!