Joey and I went backpacking in Denali National Park and thought it would be a good idea to hike along the Savage River towards Healy. What should have been a 12-15 mile hike was cut short by length, but not by time.
When hiking in the park, they encourage and try to enforce that you not take trails in order to preserve the wildlife and terrain. In some cases it’s exciting to find your own way through the bush, but in our case it was one of the hardest things we have EVER had to do, both mentally and physically.
We ended up having to bushwhack our way through shrub, trees, forest and creek beds from the time we began our hike to the next day when we ended it. The view was the only saving grace. The mosquitoes were torturous and swarmed. Nothing has tested my patience like those mutant bugs. We saw a lot of wolf prints and ran past two moose kills (moose that have been killed by wolves or bears). I had never been so nervous hiking before, but Joey and I were good at being loud wherever we went. I carried bear spray and we did everything we were supposed to.
The mosquitoes and bushwhacking were breaking us down physically and emotionally that we set up camp as soon as we found a clearing in the tundra. I’m still amazed that we made it as far as we had. Unfortunately, we had to go back the same way we came because we weren’t even close to Healy. Let’s just say, when I saw the entrance of the park, I had never felt so relieved in my entire life.
The best thing about it all was that I learned that Joey and I make a good team. We encouraged each other, he was so patient when I had to breakdown because the mosquitoes were getting to me, and we never got upset at each other when things were difficult.