Online Version 2009

Special Sightings and Natural History Notes

Sunny days were in abundance this summer, and though we didn’t hear many complaints, some days were downright hot! The warm, dry weather had certain perks—lingering in Nugget Pond, for instance—and disadvantages. Smoke from nearby wildfires briefly blocked our mountain views in late July. Staff took advantage of the warm weather with ambitious hiking (more on those adventures here), as well as swimming, canoe water polo, and inner-tubing forays down Moose Creek.

Lest we remember summer 2009 for only its mild, cloudless days, a snow storm rolled through on September 21, wrapping up summer and reminding us that weather can change on a dime here in the Alaska Range. The closing crew will remember the storm particularly well, as they had to use chains to drive through the snow it dumped on the road in order to get out of the park!


From the 2009 Special Sightings Notebook


5/13    Red Fox delivered a freshly caught Ptarmigan to two kits at Polychrome Pass.

5/24    White Wolf seen across the road from North Face Lodge.

6/17    Near East Fork Cabin, two Grizzly cubs climbed five feet up a small willow and then climbed down, dropping the last two feet to solid ground.

6/21    An American Dipper, “dipping” near the weeping wall on Moose Creek, disappeared into a nest cavity in the moss.

6/23    Hikers stumbled upon a dead Dall lamb in a steep and narrow pass between Polychrome and the West Fork of the Toklat River. The lamb, only 15” from nape to tail, was in otherwise unharmed condition and appeared to have died in a fall.

6/23    Sow Grizzly and three cubs attempted a minor river crossing of Big Stony. The cubs barked and whined as the sow persistently nudged them into crossing. Giving up, she grabbed each by the scruff of the neck and carried them individually.

6/25    Two Short Eared Owl hatchlings, quiet and fuzzy, seen in a tundra nest in Highway Pass.

7/8    Lynx slinked up the driveway to midcamp and then sprinted down the path to Nunatak cabin.

7/23    Four Surfbirds near Pika Hut on Camp Ridge.

8/28    Belted Kingfisher chased by a Merlin at Wonder Lake.

8/29    Noctilucent clouds in southern sky at 10:30 PM.

9/2    Wolves howling at moonrise from the Moose Creek terrace heard from the front steps of Potlatch.

9/7    Many V’s of Sandhill Cranes, totaling more than 500, flew over the lodges throughout the day.

9/7    Wolverine on Mt. Thorofare.

9/10    Bull Moose in Nugget Pond entertained onlookers for several minutes as he grunted and rocked his antlers. Steamy exhalations rose from his nostrils in the cool autumn air.


Back to Online Version 2009

The Newsletter of
Camp Denali,
North Face Lodge,
& Parkside Guest House

November 2013

Edited by Jan Tomsen

Illustrations by William D. Berry 

P.O. Box 67
Denali National Park, AK 99755
(907) 683-2290

The enthusiasm of our staff is what makes our guest experience so memorable! 

General staff positions are available for the 2014 season, as well as the following professional seasonal positions: Dinner Cooks, Skilled Maintenance Workers, and Naturalist Guides.

Registered Nurses are encouraged to apply for any of our positions.

If you know of someone who would be a good fit for our organization, encourage him or her to view the employment pages of our website.

If What They Say Is True...

that life

begins at forty

I was premature

My second life -

not second childhood -

no- a whole, real life

began at thirty-eight

when I came here -

here to Alaska -

alien milieu

of wilderness,

strange life-styles,

different ways.

Turned forty-five,

I formalized my adaptation

in a rite-of-passage -

acquisition of

some twenty acres,

strewn with gold.

My summers there,

apprenticeship and mastery,

in part were spent

upon my knees

with chisel, dandelion pick,

trowel and spoons,

in part calf-deep

in icy water,

waders, rubber gloves.

My eyes

turned eagle-sharp to spot

one pin-point fleck

of treasure

to increase my hoard

or, more often, to assist

slow-learner tourists

to a “real” experience...

no salted dirt,

no tall, convenient trough

to stand at comfortably;

success not guaranteed,

but always found.

My forties, fifties, sixties,

early seventies

that second life flowed on.

Three decades plus

wrought changes

in the creek,

the tourists,


All things must end,

(another saying, that),

and so -

I’m on my third life now,

excepting memories.

© Louise Gallop

Used by permission of

Louise Gallop Estate

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We have a very exciting lineup for 2015!