We just got back from a 3 day 2 night backpacking adventure through Denali National Park, AK. It might be my most favorite backpacking adventure yet.

Denali is set up very differently. Instead of having trails and designated campgrounds, they just have 1 road that goes through the park. No trail development, the backcountry is 100% raw undeveloped nature. You pick squares of like 20 square miles to stay in each night (only 4 people allowed in each huge section!), plan your trip, then a bus drops you off on the side of the road with whatever you packed, a topographic map, and a compass.

We were lost and confused for much of the trip, as we aren’t as good at route finding as we’d like to be. But we corrected our navigation errors, stuck with our schedule, found clearings in dense trees/brush, climbed mountains, forded through rivers, avoided wildlife, and ultimately persevered for all 25-ish miles of the trip.

It was like nothing I’ve ever done before, and was honestly one of the most humbling things I’ve ever experienced. You can’t really understand the humongous scale and awe-inspiring beauty of Alaska even when you’re inside of the park: but enough of my second-rate poetic word choice. Enjoy some pictures!

Moose shed their antlers each year. There are many weird things to find in the backcountry: caribou antlers and skulls, unidentified animal bones, teeth, caribou carcasses, etc.

We also took a driving tour through the park (yes, I was that close to a moose inside of a car: no danger)

Finally, here’s a close of up of the hair flip picture because it’s hilarious: