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Locations of visitors to this page

Astrocat's Winter drive on Parks Highway  (Part Two and Three)

Was off work for a few days and a spur of the moment decision turned into a 14 hour 400 mile drive.

Conditions for unobstucted views of Mount McKinley were perfect and I was itching to take a nice drive out of town.
Left at 9 a.m. while it was still dark to catch the sunrise, drove all day and arrived back home after 1 a.m.

The long drive was worth it, it was extremely cold but incredibly beautiful.
Drove south down Parks Highway about 200 miles to the abandoned Igloo Hotel which is about as close
as you can get to Mount McKinley in the winter time as the road into Denali National Park is closed.

The weathermen often say that Mount McKinley creates its own weather. I believe it because there was not a
cloud to be seen anywhere else for miles and miles, but hovering right above McKinley was a round lenticular cloud.

The weather has been exceptionally clear due to an extremely high pressure mass of frigid arctic air over central interior Alaska.
Barometer pressures have been over 31 millibars which has caused problems for pilots because their altimeters only go up to 31.
Anything over 31 and they don't function properly.

A local pilot who was on the ground said his altimeter indicated he was 200 feet below sea level and
Fairbanks has an elevation of almost 500 feet. Cannot do night time instrument flights in these conditions!

Pink glow before sunrise

Sun is obscured by morning ice fog near Healy.

Interesting sun rays in the morning ice fog.

Approaching Healy power plant - sun is illuminating the plant's smoke stack vapor. 

  I think Astrocat takes grest photos.

Midday moon

Nenana River canyon

Near entrance of Denali National Park

Alaska Range

Parks Highway

Mount McKinley with lone lenticular cloud hovering over it.
From this vantage point McKinley is probably about 60 miles away.

All I could think about was Lonnie Dupre from Minnesota who is presently doing a January solo ascent to the top.
I was freezing while taking these photos - imagine how frigging cold it must up there - they say that 180 degree below
windchill temperatures are not uncommon. Is he crazy?

Twenty-two miles south of Cantwell, the infamous Igloo Hotel sits abandoned.
The story is it was never opened because the fire marshall said it was unsafe because it has no fire escapes.


Part Three

Evening alpenglow

Sun setting behind McKinley. I watched it through binoculars, incredible!!!!

Starting to get dark, heading north back to Fairbanks

A welcoming oasis in Cantwell with hot coffee, food and warmth.

Arriving back late in Fairbanks the auroras were out. There was a strong auroral storm predicted for that weekend.

  Astrocat, well done.
  I thought it was one of your best!


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