Monday, September 5, 2011

Sugar Loaf Mountain

Adventure beckoned. My family and I headed to Denali National Park for our annual camping trip. On Sunday they elected an eight hour bus ride into the park and I elected to disappear into the backcountry tapestry. After a survey of the map, I was keen to climb Sugar Loaf Mountain. The weather was mildly positive: 37 degrees, no rain, no clouds, and high winds. Tundra, God, and I began the journey at 8:15 a.m. from an obscure social trail located in a parking lot behind a hotel just outside the park boundaries. Within 20-minutes we left behind any resemblance of a trail. The hills now belonged to a band of sheep, a dog, God, and a mountain runner. Liberation.

After 1 hour of cranking up a ridgeline, we made it to the top of a lookout point. Tundra was excited because she thought it was the summit. However, the objective of Sugar Loaf Mountain was significantly farther to the North. We quickly ate some food and headed further into the hills. The first picture is Tundra high on a ridgeline with Sugar Loaf Mountain in the distance.

Sugar Loaf Mountain. The mountain appears to be shrinking as we get closer.

Summit! The views and sensations were splendid. I love the rush of emotions when standing on a summit. No pictures or blog can accurately describe the experience of climbing mountains.

The elite band of Dall sheep running up the side of a ridge. Cool!

The final ridge before dropping into the trees and back down to civilization.