Artist Hikes Mc Kinley Bar


Driving to Wonder Lake was a gamble with fuel that was worth taking, the mountain shown dazzling, clouds evaporated and gorgeous scenes were everywhere. I shot photos until my camera registered “card full”. Exchanging the full memory card for an empty one I parked the truck at the Mc Kinley Bar trail head, donned my light weight hiking set-up and headed down the trail on foot. Wonderful vistas greeted me at every turn, this is one of the most beautiful hikes in Denali. Four miles later I was happy and satisfied that I’d found what I was seeking.


During the 50 mile drive back to the cabin I watched the mountain make its own weather finally disappearing behind layers of clouds. Part way I parked near Eielson framing the mountain in the camper window as I cooked dinner, the tip of the peak remained bathed in alpen glow surrounded by a dark puffy coat. I waited eight days for this event and was content. The surrounding landscape glowed golden from evening sun and prompted frequent stops for photos. Nary a bus in sight, the diesel parade had already rolled east terminating at the park entrance. Silence. Lustrous reflected sunset, an artists nirvana. Approaching Highway Pass the blond shape of a grizzly sow appeared romping quickly across the grassy plain with a dark furry spring cub trailing close behind. I watched these exquisite creatures feed and hunt for a long, long time until fading dusk beckoned me to finish the drive to the cabin. A day well done, and it was good.

Gail Niebrugge, Denali Artist-in-Residence

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  1. I was getting concerned that the weather wouldn’t cooperate! YAY! Don’t we all wish we could have seen the same? Love your descriptions!

  2. I was extremely fortunate Vicki, and had resigned myself to paint a squirrel or fireweed. This changed my options 🙂

  3. What a wonderful day – you were well rewarded for your waiting and your efforts! So happy for you, Gail!

  4. It was worth the wait. Gail

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