We had one last full day in Denali. We we’re going to climb a peak. We took a shuttle to the Savage River rest stop, since that was the farthest we could go without paying for a ticket. There are few trails in Denali National Park, but one of them follows the Savage River for a mile or two, crosses a bridge, then returns on the other side. This area was perhaps crowded by Alaska standards, but it was much quieter than any trail in the Sierra.
At the bridge we walked off the main trail. A social trail fades in and out all the way to the top of Mount Margaret, which is just west of the Savage River. We climbed, first through grass and brush, then over more barren, desolate talus and scree. The weather, as was true for the rest of the trip, was not pleasant. The top of the mountain was fogged over, and every once in a while a mist would develop over us.
We climbed for about two-thousand feet, then found ourselves without any climbing left. We had reached what we believed to be the highest point, though there was no way to know. We sat down, sheltered from the breeze by some rocks, and ate our lunch. At the point where our hands were beginning to get cold, we went back down. Luckily, I had taken copious mental notes about various geographical features on the climb up, and so we had no problem following our route back down to the bridge. From there, we took the bus back to the entrance area, camped another night, then headed back for Anchorage. And of course, on the way back, we had to stop for some local Alaskan beer.