Yesterday, we were just practising. We missed the cut off for the guided hike sign up – 11 people got their names down before us and that is the maximum limit. So, we decided to go it alone – well – not quite alone. We found 3 other brave explorers to hike with us – Vash, Lindsay and a guy named Doug. Armed with pepper spray, a hand drawn map (?) and borrowed walking poles, we set off to climb up to Quigley Ridge. It was a hefty climb and a scramble through deep brush in several places. Although cold at the start, we soon shed layers and got very warm indeed with the exertion of the climb. The views from the top were amazing- a camera just can’t capture the beauty of this place.

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This is not a trip for the faint hearted – it has taken some courage to get the best out of Alaska!

We were surrounded on all sides with a 360 degree panorama of mountain scenery with Mount McKinley reaching into the clouds as a backdrop. I felt a deep need for silence at the top – as if we were in a church. Silence and peace is what this place is all about. We left the others to continue to hike on to a further ridge and sat in the clouds for quite some time, absorbing the silent tranquility we had come to this far away place in search of.

The weather was kind to us on our stay, but I can imagine that you could have had 3 days of rain – or mosquitos – or both here, which would not have made for a good trip. We were provided with mosquito nets in our room, but thankfully didn’t need them it is too cold mow. This is not a trip for the faint hearted – it has taken some stamina to get the best out of Alaska.

Tomorrow, we have a 5am “complimentary” (!) wake up call for the bus trip back to the Park entrance, then another bus back to Anchorage. I wished I could press the fast forward button at this point …

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