Backpacking in Denali (2): The Mountain

By September 14, 2011No Comments

Journal Excerpt: Day One

The scenery on the way to Wonder Lake was spectacular.  We saw bears, sheep, caribou and had a phenomenal view of Mount McKinley.  At 20,000 feet, it is the highest peak in North America, and since ground level is only 2,000 feet above sea level, the 18,000 foot rise is the highest relief in the world.  To be able to see the mountain is a rare treat, and they say that only 30% of the people who come to the park actually get a clear view of it due to cloud cover.   Incidentally, it wasn’t long before the clouds rolled in and the view of the mountain was obscured.

While we were cooking dinner, the clouds parted momentarily, and we saw McKinley.  It was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen.  How can I describe it?

Imagine looking at the clouds high above you and seeing a mountain in the clouds.

Not mountains, a mountain.  One mountain, filling the whole horizon.

[My picture doesn’t do it justice.  Here’s a better one I posted earlier, from the internet:]


Its immensity was staggering, and it drew my heart to stand in awe of God, who made the mountains perhaps so that we could have categories for understanding his immensity.

“I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from Yahweh, the Maker of heaven and earth.” – Psalm 121.1-2

“Those who trust in Yahweh are like Mount Zion, which can never be shaken, but endures forever.  As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so Yahweh surrounds his people both now and forevermore.” – Psalm 123.1-2

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