Jim & Rita picked us up in Anchorage and we headed north to Fairbanks. The road goes through Wasilla. You can NOT see Russia from her house.
Anchorage to Fairbanks is about 8 hours and we hadn't planned to stop, but as we got near Denali the weather was sunny and clear, which is apparently very unusual. Inspired by the view, we detoured to Talkeetna and jumped on a plane. We would circle Mt. McKinley (aka Denali), the highest peak in North America then land on a glacier, goddammit!
Michael loves to fly. I think this is the happiest I've ever seen him. Ever.
Glacial rivers are gray and opaque from the silt held inside the ice.
As we head into the mountains, the peaks got craggier and we started to see snow.
The ice of the glaciers is miles thick with snow cover of 8-10 feet. Taking off was much scarier than landing. Basically you point the skis (instead of wheels) at the edge of a cliff and go.
The moment of falling away is amazing.
Sadly, I was so enthralled I neglected to fully capture the experience on film. The next photos are courtesy of Ms. Rita Bates, who had her wits about her.
I was on the verge of tears for much of the flight. To see the planet so fierce and vulnerable at the same time.