Every day off I have these days is precious. Working six days per week, sometimes 10+ hour shifts, really leaves me anticipating my next free day.
In a weird Mother-Nature-must-hate-me twist of fate, it has rained on nearly every single day off I have had over the past two months. I always have grand plans for what to do with my few hours of free time: hiking, photo walks, getting into the park (Denali) a tour of some sort (flight, rafting, etc.); but when you wake up to cold temps, pouring rain, and low-lying clouds, nothing but sleeping late and curling up with a good book (or Kindle in my case) sounds attractive.
This past Wednesday I’d had enough. I woke up to overcast skies, but I rolled the dice and headed into the park anyway. I was craving a good hike and some time with my newly-repaired camera.
As I got a fairly late start and rain seemed imminent, I settled on a relatively short hike near the entrance to the national park: Horseshoe Lake.
This 2 mile hike is easy (at least on the way down, up… not so much!) and offers beautiful views of the oxbow lake, canyon, and forest.
The wildflowers are out in full force (likely thanks to all the rain) and I took my time admiring them. I wish I knew all their names.
I am a horrible part-time Alaskan and while I remembered to apply sunscreen–which was not needed on such a cloudy day–I neglected to apply bug spray. Alaska is notorious for its vicious mosquitoes and I was immediately covered in swollen and painful bites. I suffered through the annoying bugs and sat near the lake for a bit to enjoy the view and a granola bar.
After checking the beaver dam for any signs of life (no luck) and snapping a few more photos, I headed back up the steep trail to catch the bus out of the park. It started to drizzle on the way and I was lucky to get out of the park before the downpour started.
My day off ended well with an ice cream and new earrings from two local shops.
Nothing like little retail therapy to beat the bad weather blues!
If the weather is halfway decent on my next day off, I hope to take a flight out to the end of the park road and the encampment known as Kantishna. A yearly pilgrimage to mile 94 is a tradition I can’t give up.
I took a lot more photos of the beautiful wildflowers and plants. Stay tuned for a post on those in the next few days.