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Denali National Park

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Denali Postcard
Flight  
* Although dry, the weather at Denali wasn't as bright and sunny as we had hoped.  The mountain was obscured most of the days we were there.  We observed that the clouds seemed to clear off a little more later in the day (and we checked the weather online diligently) and we optimistically scheduled a flight-seeing tour with a glacier landing on Mt. McKinley for our last afternoon.

* We were quite fortunate.  As recently as that morning, they were unable to make the glacier landing.  But we had spectacular weather and an incredible experience. 

* Fly Denali is the only service that departs from the Denali park area and offers a glacier-landing so it made our choice pretty simple.  (All others depart from Talkeetna).  The three-hour trip passes through about 90 miles of the park, over spectacular glaciers, lands in the Sheldon Amphitheater, then circles out and returns to Healy.   Fly Denali was wonderful and the flight was the highlight of our entire trip.

LINKS:
* Fly Denali (flightseeing service)

Postcard

Map of Denali Glaciers
. .
Our plane Airport
Our plane, a Beaver Healy Airport
Nenana River Park Road
Nenana River, near the park entrance Park Road
Mom Chris
Feather-weights have to sit in the back Lookin' good ...
Mountains Moraine
Glacial Moraines
Moraine Moraine
Snow Denali
Notice the blue snow and ice from the glaciers.  Denali is visible under the wing in the right photo.
Blue Ice Blue Snow
Moraine Mountains
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Glacier Landing
* The scenery enroute was spectacular - but the glacier landing was the highlight.  The Sheldon Amphitheater is surrounded by cliffs and mountains, and you precipitously drop in there when you land.  A short roll along the Ruth glacier and you can deplane and walk around.

* It was surprisingly warm.  We had coats - but we really didn't need them.

* Leaving, however, is a different story.  The pilot had to make about 36,000 spirals in order to get enough altitude to get out the bowl.  Well, okay, maybe not 36,000.   Maybe 4.  I wasn't really counting.

Glacier Facts:  
* 17% of Denali park's lands area is covered with glaciers
*
Deepest measured glacier: Ruth - 3805 feet
* The surface ice of the Ruth Glacier moves about 3.1 feet per day.
* Largest glaciers are on south side of Alaska Range (35-45 miles long) --Kahiltna, Ruth Eldridge, Tokositna and Yentna
* Largest glacier on north side of Alaska Range is the Muldrow Glacier on Mt. McKinley (34 miles long).
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Cliffs Cliffs
Coming in for the landing
On the glacier
Sheldon Amphitheater (on the glacier)

The Don Sheldon Amphitheater (named for a bush pilot) is a 7 mile long basin,
10 miles SE of the summit of Mount McKinley, at the head of the Ruth Glacier

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