Denali Dispatch

It is our pleasure to present Denali Dispatch, a journal of the goings-on at Camp Denali.


Written by members of our staff, Denali Dispatch is an opportunity to peek into life in Denali: notable events, wildlife sightings, conservation topics, recipes from our kitchen, and insights into the guest experience at Camp Denali. Denali Dispatch 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.


May 31, 2019

Every summer, birds from all seven continents flock to Denali National Park to feast, mingle, and make the most out of the almost endless sunlight. In recent weeks, birds of a different feather, but with similar aims, have settled themselves about Camp Denali & North Face Lodge: our staff, summoned from their winter roosts by the promise of a rising summer season. From Vietnam to Vermont, Seattle to Scotland, Montana to Mexico, our rambling staff members have heeded the annual call to return. As of 10 days ago, our entire staff is on campus, and it’s all hands on deck to ready the lodges for our very first guests.


Every spring, we undo the work we did to winterize this place the previous fall. The water systems are drained and tested, boards pried off the windows, vehicle batteries connected again. Up the flagpole goes the earth flag that was taken down in September, down come the dust covers from the framed paintings and photographs on the walls. Inevitably some bottled liquid that became solid during the subarctic winter has exploded, reminding us just how cold those winters can be. Into rooms and cabins march staff members armed with rags, vacuums, mops and more. Quilts and curtains that were carefully folded and put away for the off-season are aired out, ironed, and returned to the living spaces where they belong. We walk in stocking feet over freshly steamed carpets and newly waxed floors.


To those who return here year after year, these familiar tasks are a ritual, as predictable and reassuring as watching the brown, winter-crushed hillsides flush into a riot of deep and bright greens as the leaves unfurl and the wildflowers unwind from the tundra. But though so much feels the same season after season, we know so much is also different. Across the park, new baby animals are traipsing after their mothers. Braided rivers have reformed, finding new routes. The mountainsides have shifted.


We humans have our new goings-on, too: the kitchen staff is very pleased with their new walk-in refrigerator, work continues on a new cabin slated for completion later this season, and we’ve broken ground on an exciting renewable energy project. But most importantly, we know that a new season means new guests coming our way, those who have yet to forge experiences in and with this land -- but who will, each of them, very soon.


Let the summer begin!

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