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Denali National Park:
Friends in Fairbanks
Hiking Denali National Park
July 9-16, 2000
Rating: H-L/Easy-Moderate
Cost: $1950
Deposit: $400
Our trip begins in the Alaskan Interior town of Fairbanks, where we'll meet and dine with colorful locals : Celia Hunter and Ginny Woods, two of the first women bush pilots in Alaska (now in their 70s), and Mary Shields, first woman to finish the 1100-mile Iditarod dogsled race. You'll meet Mary's team of friendly huskies and learn about the joys of mushing in Alaska in the winter.

From Fairbanks we'll travel by van to Denali and from a base camp on the Savage River we'll explore Denali National Park on foot and by wildlife tour bus (private automobiles aren't allowed in Denali). On the wildlife bus tour we've seen at close range moose, caribou, fox, grizzlies, Dall Sheep--and wolves.

The exciting climax of our week will be a flight-see of Denali (also known as Mt. McKinley): we'll follow the path of the Ruth Glacier through The Great Gorge and land in the Sheldon Amphitheater near the East Buttress and within sight of the summit. Three nights lodging in Fairbanks in a rough-hewn log cabin castle situated in a boreal forest overlooking a lovely lake.

"Meeting local people (especially the interesting women) made the experience special and more personal. I didn't feel like just the typical tourist... This trip was a valuable experience for me. - Sandra Heise

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