McKinley – day 4

I think it’s Friday today, losing track, which is a good sign, I daresay! We’re at McKinley Lodge and today is a much appreciated rest day. 

So I had a bit of a lie in, then went for a run. Yes, that may come as a shock to many of you. I loathe running. But after all the sitting on buses, I felt desperate to get some exercise, a decent blow out. So I waited till it was light enough to see various potential wildlife and trotted off round the park. I had gone maybe half a mile when, round a corner I came face to face with a moose. I stopped dead still and did a quick mental search of all the info I’ve learned on moose so far. The advice we’d had on face to face encounters was turn and run, hide behind the nearest decent tree. Apparently they do a hard out charge, then lose interest and bugger off. Well, a rapid assessment of the trees immediately to my right told me they were woefully short of providing any shelter. I started quietly backing up, my unfit heart still going staccato, my brain registering it was a very small moose. Not hearing any angry hoof beats coming my way I decided it was not going to charge me. Curiosity began to set in and in stead of running off in the opposite direction like a sensible little kiwi, I did a bit of a detour and wound up back on the same road but on the other side of where I’d seen the moose. I snuck towards it and there was a mother with two calves, and my god, there was nothing small about her. They are massive beasts. Close up you truly appreciate their enormity. Finally I headed off in a more sensible direction and enjoyed my run. Astonishing, I know. Disgracefully unfit, however.

Yesterday was really just getting from Denali to McKinley. A misty grey day but still lovely scenery en route. And Jack full of info as ever. We did see a moose close by the road, grazing in a swamp pond, so the bus driver stopped for us to take pics. They are very endearing to look at, for all you wouldn’t want to mess with one!! 
I’ve haven’t been a hundy, health wise, but I’ve decided it’s just a bit of a threatening cold, a wee virus, sore throat, cough at night and so on. I didn’t even feel like wine yesterday. Imagine that. So it’s nice to chill out for the day, read and write, do laundry (boring!) and drink herbal tea. I’ve nearly run out of good old fashioned drugs but I found yarrow, rose hips and, joy of joys, black willow on my run, so I’ve made tea with those!! I’m told the moose (Shane reckons the plural should be meese!) love the willow too. I wonder if they ever get sore joints!? Probably not. 

God, I’m so rambling. There’s no WiFi in our rooms so I’ll meander up to the lodge later and post this.

Oh , I forgot, we just attended a light show. A guy called LeRoy Zimmerman, a photographer obsessed with the Northern lights, made a beautiful movie of his life’s work, put to classical music. Sadly he passed away not long after completing it. I have to say it’s one of the most moving things I’ve seen in a long time. It was visceral, spell binding and brought tears to my eyes. I had to do yoga breathing to keep the emotion in check! Truly, I wish you could see it. I badly wish I could see them myself, for real, but it’s unlikely now. Tonight’s probably the last chance and at this stage it’s too cloudy.   

Last night, during dinner in the posher of the two restaurants, a black bear decided to investigate the bins right below the window. Man, everyone went nuts, practically climbing over each other to see it. Humans really are disgusting sometimes! No common sense at all. It’s a young bear, too young to be weaned probably, which is no doubt why its coming into the lodge grounds so openly.  The engineer said it’ll have to be “dealt with” once the place closes in a few days. I daresay that means with a bullet but when Shane mentioned it during the ruckus, another lady at our table went into conniptions, so I said they’d probably be relocating it!  

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being totally unreasonably pathetic, most of our tour group, whilst really nice, are about an 8 on the scale. The comments about the rough road into Denali on Wednesday and how intrepid they were, cracked me up. Seriously, the road was like a ruddy highway compared to many in NZ!! And we never came close to being at risk in any way whatsoever. Still, horses for courses, I guess.         

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