A place that you probably have not heard of is Denali State Park. While adjoining the National Park of the same name, it is less frequently visited as mountain seekers wiz by it while traveling the Parks Highway. Ironically the views of the Denali Mountain are superb from this park since you are able to view the striking southern face of the mountain from here. Denali is so large that, even 40 or 50 miles away, it dwarfs the landscape.
When you are piddlin’ around you have the freedom to stop and stay awhile when you find a place you like. You also have the time to meet some of the great folks across our land. Our stop after Denali National Park is just one of those places. By accident we found the Kesugi Ken Campground in Denali State Park near what is called the Denali South Viewpoint off the Parks Highway. This campground is so new that it is not in the guidebook that we have and its location is known mainly to Alaskans who have gotten the scoop by word of mouth. We have been so impressed by how proud they are of their state. Alaskans can’t imagine living anywhere else. During summer months, they are easy to spot, while we are wearing heavy clothing and raincoats, they have tank tops and shorts on.
Almost everyone quickly offers advice as to where to visit, eat, and camp. One delightful couple gave us gifts of smoked red salmon that they had caught in their fish wheel, fileted, marinated, smoked, and vacuum sealed! We were honored to receive such as gift.
While we have had a good number of overcast days, Denali has peaked out several times for us. It is really much more impressive than a photograph can capture.
The campground has a trail called “Moose Flats” and we found that a moose was there waiting for us.
We also hiked the Curry Ridge Trail that climbs to the ridge line and also features an above tree line lake.
We hiked Lower Troublesome Creek Trail with some full timers that we met at Kesugi Ken. They have been full timers for years which is always an encouragement.
I can’t not go to the ranger talk. This one was about bears!
We had a great visit. Met some wonderful people. Enjoyed the laid back atmosphere. This is why you come to Alaska.