Denali Dispatch

It is our pleasure to present Dispatches, a journal of the goings on at Camp Denali & North Face Lodge.


Written by members of our staff, Dispatches is an opportunity to peek into life in Denali: wildlife sightings, Denali National Park issues, recipes from our kitchens, and insights into the guest experience at Camp Denali & North Face Lodge. Dispatches will carry on through the winter, when we hope to share stories of snowy ski adventures, deep cold, and the events of a small Alaskan community.


Simplicity, and Thankfulness

November 18, 2015

Living along the border of one of the worlds most famous and stunning National Parks, it’s relatively easy to be occasionally touched (or even blown away) by moments of wonder and awe.  In the summer at the lodges we have the great fortune to hike across pristine tundra meadows and watch while caribou prance along in front of us.  We gawk at the long-tailed jaegers flight and ponder the long migrations of nearly 150 bird species that breed in Denali, but fly south for the winter.  We light a fire in our woodstove or firepace and savor fine meals and warm conversations with fellow travelers. And we get to share those experiences with you, our guests.

Winter in Denali holds no less of a thrill, though a very different one. The way the high winds blow snow off the tall peaks, the tracks of a lynx, the aurora dancing overhead in a star-filled night sky.  These moments still catch our breath and hold us captive to the wonders of the earth, if not for just a moment.  Our nose stings, our fingers are white and numb, and the reality of a winter in the continental climate of northern interior Alaska comes back to you.  This last week our thermometer has been hovering around zero Fahrenheit (-18C), and we’ve been losing five minutes of sunlight per day. The Christmas lights have been strung up, and walking the dogs before and after work means using a headlamp and mukluks, or skis.  Yesterday morning was a chilly -25F when our office crew came in for work.  It was so cold my knees absolutely ached from being outside for 30 minutes.

In temperatures like these, as the dark and cold of winter takes hold, it’s easy to forget the zest and wonder you have for a place, or a particular passion in your life.  We want you to bring those awestruck and thankful moments back into your life, even with challenging weather, stressful holidays, or getting too far settled into a routine. We are lucky to be able to live in a place that ignites that spark in people.  We love nothing more than to show you the grace of the natural world. The explosive flavors of a pesto made from our greenhouse basil.  The calm that comes from being a place with no internet or cell service.  The majority of our guests, now our friends, hold these few days close to their hearts and bring that sense of wonder back to their normal lives.

Forget not how blessed you are to have friends, family, a safe and warm home, and the small wonders around you.  Try not to wear your busy schedule as a badge of honor, rather try to slow down a moment to thank a friendly neighbor, savor a warm cup of tea, and pet the cat or dog for a nice, long while.  Look up at the waning morning moon as you shuffle though the busy streets, go for a walk with a friend, read a beautiful poem as you ride the bus, and delight in the laughter of a child.  It doesn’t take the highest mountain in North America to bring a sense of thankfulness and awe in your life, though it can help you to recall those things more easily, we acknowledge!  Take those moments to heart, and hold them daily in your beautiful, simple, and kind life.

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