3 September 2015, Thursday

I snapped the photo above when I stepped outside our room at 7:30am. Looks like another promising day. I think I missed several photo opportunities by not getting up at sunrise each morning.

Reflections were on the agenda today, and they were awesome. A few more clouds in the sky, but that only added to the drama.

Repetitious, but we were here for quite some time, and it is such a wonderful scene. There aren’t a lot of different ways to frame this shot, but it probably would have been a good idea to turn around and capture some of the surrounding views as well 😝 I find I often get zoned in on one area and forget about the rest of the world. A lot like real life …

Forced to look around now, as we drove to the Wonder Lake Campground and walked down to the lake and took a short hike. After that, we hopped back on the bus and drove to Eielson Visitor Center. This was good, because we didn’t have much time to visit on our first trip into the park. We also ate our sack lunch here, before heading back to the Lodge. We didn’t see much – just awe-inspiring scenery.

Proof that we did eat at meal times. Funny, the few photos I do have are of salad, and soup or dessert with a flower on top of it. This seemed to be an off week for the kitchen, because people always comment about the wonderful food when reviewing the lodge. We thought it was just OK.

Here is one of our guys giving a recap of our day. This is a tradition at North Face, where someone from each group gives an overview of their activities for the day. Our travel mate gave a short and sweet report on how awesome it is to be in Denali National Park. He was right!

We were not in sync with every aspect of the North Face Lodge. But we are obviously the exception, since the lodge gets rave reviews on TripAdvisor. It might be different if visiting them independently, and not as part of a group. Lou’s memories from his first visit in 2008 are much more positive. To sum up our feelings about the North Face Lodge – we just thought they took themselves too seriously, and the staff were part of a super elite club – guests were lucky to be there to participate in their process and rituals. It was a touchy feely summer camp for adults.

The North Face Lodge holds a privileged position in Denali National Park, and their special permissions allow them to take guests back into the park on their busses and vans. I would stay there again, although Lou might not agree. We would just have to adjust our grumpy non-new age attitudes 😉😏😀 (As I mentioned earlier in the report, the North Face Lodge is no longer hosting guests – we first saw the announcement of the shutdown in their online newsletter at the end of 2019). Camp Denali will continue to operate as usual.

Nothing can take away from the perfect weather we experienced. Denali graced us with clear views every day, and we got to see the landscape covered in snow and in the colors of fall. We saw enough wildlife to make us thankful. The bus rides into and out of the Park were subject to all the weather of the season – rain, fog. sunshine, and snow! It is always a pleasure to have Len Rue, Jr. as our leader. He is happy to answer questions, and genuinely wants to make sure everyone in the group has a good experience. I regret not getting a group photo, and noting everyone’s name. This was a very agreeable group to travel with, which is a plus on a trip like this.

Click HERE to take the last bus ride.

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