We were headed just a short way south of Denali National Park so I didn't mark it on the map.
We only traveled less than 100 miles today to an Alaskan State Park at Byers Lake. It is dry camping in the forest next to Byers Lake, so Bob wanted to fish. We got to see a hazy Mt. McKinley from our highway to the south east of Denali National Park. We were told that the smoke will be clearing, especially from the south, so we might be able to see it from our new spot.
We passed through an area called Broad Pass. It was a mountain valley, bare in some places, dotted with scrub spruce in others. Surrounded by mountain peaks, it was still a pass – one of the lowest summits along the North American mountain system. It marks the divide between the drainage of rivers into either the Cook Inlet or the Yukon River (like a continental divide).
Being camped next to a lake, we were swarmed with mosquitoes, but we’ve all got our “deet”. Oh yeah, we only have to worry about the females; they’re the ones that want our blood.
We visited the Alaskan Veterans Memorial next to Byers Lake by way of a hiking trail through a boreal forest from our campground. The Memorial was placed along the highway half way between Fairbanks and Anchorage so it could be visited by travelers. They honored all the branches of service and explained when each branch became involved with Alaska. The Coast Guard was first in 1865, Army & Navy 1867, Marine Corps 1892. But if you count Merchant Marines – they provided fuel and shuttle since 1775 to Alaska.
Since we had a view of the south side of the Alaska Range from here, there was also an explanation of how Mt. McKinley was formed, which I found interesting. It was formed beneath the earth’s surface from molten lava and was pushed up the pressures of the Pacific Plate and the Yukatat Block, and the rigid northern continental plate. There is lots of earthquake activity here due to this.