"Just as long as Demi Moore doesn't come out and start shaking her saline bags." - Crow T. Robot, MST3K
The thing about the road into Denali Park is that it's not your typical highway. A typical highway has things like guardrails, signs, and pavement. This is a dirt road back into the hills that's not (generally) open to the public. As a typical member of the public, the transition from "roads that are good and won't kill me," to "roads that are for professionals" is a difficult one.
After the Long Range Bears and Checkpoint Charlie, I tooled up the road in typical Wilder fashion, which is, as fast as I can. Scenery? Well, I'll have time for scenery when I'm six feet under.
This is a good idea for the first fifteen or so miles past the checkpoint, and Rangerette Jane. Beyond a certain point . . . well, I'll explain:
I was driving with The Boy when we came up behind a vehicle moving very slow around a tight corner. I hit the brakes. There are a few moments in your life when you wonder if you're going to live or die. This was one of them. My tires locked up on the dirt road, as I saw a precipitous drop in front of me. By precipitous, I mean straight frigging down a cliff.
I don't know, outside of watching Wile E. Coyote use his heels to create dust clouds in air as he failed to make a corner that that evil Roadrunner could, if you've ever felt this way. My tires were making dust clouds, out of real dust, and I was wondering if the end of my life would come as the Family Truckster rolled down a 1000' drop.
Since you're reading this, well, the suspense shouldn't be all that significant. We made it. But I must warn you - I don't have a fear of heights, but this road (no guard rails, no warning signs) made me want to hug the corner of dear, sweet earth as we drove onward. Unless you turn your wheel at the right time, the only thing they're going to find of you is metal samples from your car and enough scrapings of flesh to do a DNA test. I don't think the teeth would make it.
I spoke afterwards with a friend, and, apparently there are buses full of tourists that sometimes miss a turn. Why you don't read about this in the paper more, well, I don't know. Perhaps these weren't important people. I do know that after this near miss, my mind went to the fact that I was living in the most seismically active region in the world. On the steepest frigging road I'd ever been on. I know the odds are low, but I sure wouldn't want to be on any road near any cliff like this when the Earth starts shaking like a wet dog with ticks.
Makes for a bad day.
Next: Maybe some pictures.