The Great One

Denali 1

Denali 2

Several of my good friends are posting photos from Denali National Park since there has been some political attention to changing the name of the mountain. Denali means "the great one" as it pertains to this massive mountain, so Mt. McKinley has been renamed.

It brings back a thousand great memories (none of them political). I first went to Denali in 1976. For fifteen years I took groups to an assortment of cabins 90 miles in the backcountry and at the base of Mt. McKinley. We climbed the ridges, were confronted by grizzlies, herds of caribou, the occasional wolf or wolverine, and many other creatures. But aside from the abundance of wildlife, we were in awe as we walked in the shadow of the highest peak in North America at 20,320 feet. 

My fondest memory is reflected in this photograph while on my second visit. I walked alone a couple of miles from camp and sat on a ridge above Wonder Lake (great name in itself) to watch the alpenglow light up the mountain after sunset. My thoughts were of "the Great One" ...not the great mountain, but, The Great One, and I was humbled that I was even allowed to witness such an amazing sight made by such an amazing God.

Today, Denali very likely looks like the second photo, as this is the week that I traveled there for 15 years and it is the peak of Autumn color with snow possible any day.

Ken Jenkins
Ken Jenkins