The hills here at home are turning gold and every day someone asks when we’re going to Alaska. Unlike last year’s big adventure, I won’t head north until summer’s almost over, at the tail-end of August. Stewart will go earlier, but I have two reasons for waiting.
First, I’ve never seen snow at the cabin. Every year, I get home around Labor Day and Stewart calls me from the satellite phone to make sure I arrived safely. Usually he says, “It snowed!” Later on, he brings home photos like the ones in this post.
I’d like to see our cabin in snow at least once. (This makes me think of another question for the Cabin FAQ: Have you ever stayed all winter? It’s time for us to get back to work on those answers.)
The other reason to make a late trip is that we just entered the Denali Park Road Lottery. It’s the first time we’ve signed up to win a golden ticket — in the form of a one-day permit — to drive the Denali Park Road as far as weather will let us.
Each year, the National Park Service issues 1600 permits to drive the road at the end of the summer season. For 2016, that means 400 permits per day over a four-day period from September 16-20. (You may notice that’s five days, not four. One day is set aside in a special program for military folks.) Earlier in the summer, you’re allowed to drive only a short distance on the road (as far as the Savage River Trailhead, shown on the map below). From that point, you take one of the park’s lumbering, green buses, or you walk.
It costs $10 to enter the lottery and $25 to purchase the permit if you win. The NPS website says our chances are about 1 in 6, and we’ll be notified of the drawing results in a couple of weeks.
I do realize my longing for snow and my desire to drive the park road could work at cross-purposes. More snow means less chance of driving all the way to Wonder Lake. (Some years the NPS completely shuts down the park road before the lottery days.) Or, a trip to Wonder Lake might mean no snow at all. Then again, maybe we won’t win the lottery and there won’t be a single September flurry.
Do I care? No!
We’re going back to Alaska, and nothing about that makes me unhappy.
P.S. I’ve started building my cabin reading list for 2016. I’ve decided to keep reading lists in the sidebar because they’ll be easier to update, and there’s plenty of room over there. Take a look and please add suggestions in the comments!