A TRIBUTE TO DENALI NATIONAL PARK
By Kimberley Woodhouse
Anyone who knows me personally knows that I love Alaska. And I mean LOVE—even more than chocolate. Which is a lot.
Our family has had the experience of living in remote Alaska (an island in the Aleutians that was an active volcano… and did I mention there were no roads or cars or Starbucks? But that’s another story,) as well as living on the mainland where yes, there is actually a Walmart or two… or three.
I’ve also had the incredible privilege to write eight books so far that take place in this magnificent state.
When people ask me the one place on earth they should visit, I say, “Alaska.”
Why? There’s no other place on the planet like it. Especially since it’s so huge and the terrain and temperatures can be so different. But the biggest reason for me is Denali National Park. The mountains, the flowers, the wildlife, the remoteness… it’s all incredible.
Now, don’t start questioning about the name Mt. McKinley. That’s a sure way for the Alaskans to shake their heads at you and know you are a tourist. While it IS true that for about one hundred years, the Great One, The High One, the tallest mountain in North America had “officially” been called Mt. McKinley, that was only because a prospector came through one day and decided he could name it. Unfortunately, The High One already had a name. Centuries old and in many different Alaskan native dialects. He is Denali. Officially once again.
He is so massive at 20,320 feet above sea level that he “creates” his own weather with the mountains surrounding him. So, many sad tourists leave Alaska without ever seeing him in all his glory, as he stands tall mysteriously cloaked in clouds. But if you have the incredible opportunity of hearing those glorious words, “the Mountain is out!” You’d best go chase him down as fast as you can. It’s something you will never forget.
On clear days, he can be seen from Anchorage and also from just outside Fairbanks. Those two cities are almost four hundred miles apart.
Denali is indeed amazing. (The picture below taken with my editors as a point of reference to the massiveness of the mountain is still roughly fifty-sixty miles from Denali. Hard to believe, isn’t it?)
This year—2017—Denali National Park celebrates its 100th Anniversary. While the National Park System was created in 1916, Denali National Park wasn’t named to preserve until 1917. At the time, there were no roads in or out, but because of the numerous prospectors heading to the Alaska Territory to find their fortunes in gold, the President declared it to be protected land. It would be a while before it even had its first Superintendent—Harry Karstens—who took on the job all by himself. That’s right, he was responsible for the whole area himself. But Karstens was a phenomenal man, in fact, he was one of the first to actually summit Denali back in 1913. Karstens is a recurring character in The Heart of Alaska Series (In the Shadow of Denali is book one, Out of the Ashes—book two releases in January of 2018.)
So as a tribute to my favorite place—I’m going to give away three of my books that take place in and around Denali National Park. In the Shadow of Denali is my latest best-seller written with Tracie Peterson. This is the first in an historical series about the community of Curry, Alaska. No Safe Haven is the best-selling contemporary novel written with my daughter Kayla. It’s very suspenseful. And Denali Dreams is a contemporary novella collection written with dear friend and best-selling author, Ronie Kendig.
For a little fun, I’m going to post a few more pictures. In the comments, we’ll see if you can answer the questions about my favorite state!
1. In the picture below, what are the native names of the three main mountains pictured? Bonus points if you know the English translation ☺
2. In the next picture, what exactly IS it and what is it used for? Bonus points if you know the reason why this is required. ☺
3. And just for fun, this is the historic Curry Hotel from our current series The Heart of Alaska. Do you know which President visited this prestigious hotel?
I want to thank you readers for taking the time out to spend a little time exploring Denali National Park with me. I love hearing from you all and since I’m currently recuperating from three different surgeries, I have a bit more “down time” – but alas, my next book is due June 1.
Enjoy the journey!!!
Kimberley Woodhouse is a best-selling, award-winning author of more than a dozen fiction and nonfiction books. A popular speaker and teacher, she’s shared her theme of “Joy Through Trials” with more than half a million people across the country at more than 2,000 events. Kim is a pastor’s wife and is passionate about music and Bible study. She lives and writes in Colorado with her husband of twenty-five plus years and their two amazing kids.
Kim has three novels set in Denali National Park. Post a comment with answers to her trivia questions, I will select 2 winners at random. I’ll award one chance for each correct answer (plus an additional chance for each correct bonus question for a total of 5). Please denote which of these titles you prefer in your response. Giveaway open to residents of the United States.
In the Shadow of Denali – Historical Fiction
Cassidy Ivanoff and her father, John, work at the new and prestigious Curry Hotel outside Mt. McKinley. While John will be expedition and wilderness exploration guide for the wealthy tourists, Cassidy has signed on as a cook’s assistant. Both are busy as the hotel prepares to welcome the president of the United States on his way to drive in the golden spike to officially complete the railroad.
Allan Brennan travels to the Curry Hotel to be an apprentice of a seasoned Alaska mountain guide. Ever since his father’s death climbing Mt. McKinley, he’s worked to earn enough money to make the trek to the Alaska territory himself. His father’s partner blames their guide for the death of his father, but Allan wants to find the truth for himself. He finds an unlikely ally in Cassidy, and as the two begin to look into the mystery, they suddenly find that things are much less clear, and much more dangerous, than either could ever imagine.
No Safe Haven – Contemporary Ficton
Jenna and Andi Tikaani-Gray are hoping for a fresh start. Though twelve year-old Andi has long struggled with a rare medical disorder, she and her mother have finally received good news from out-of-town specialists. It’s news they desperately needed, especially after the recent death of Jenna’s husband (Andi’s dad) in a car accident.
But as they are flying home to Alaska, ready to begin again, the unthinkable happens. The pilot sabotages their small plane and crashes into Sultana, one of the most remote and dangerous mountains in the Land of the Midnight Sun. Even worse, a winter storm is headed their way along with someone who doesn’t want to save them, but to kill them.
Only one man can keep them alive: Cole Maddox, the mysterious last-minute passenger who joined them on their flight. But trust doesn’t come easy to Jenna or AndiÑand they both sense Cole is hiding something.
A relentless tale of survival and suspense unfolds, involving military technology designed by Jenna’s late husband that some would do anything to possess.
Denali Dreams – Romance
Catch a glimpse of Denali National Park through the eyes of four courageous women. Karon Granger beat cancer, but can she climb Mt. McKinley—the tallest mountain in North America? Is heiress Jolie Decouteau safe from the rugged terrain and an assassin? Will flightseeing tour guide Deline Tsosi uncover the sabotage that endangers her business—and find her heart melting for an Alaskan ranger? Can love conquer all when the past threatens the protective walls of Deanna Smith’s remote job? Will Denali spell disaster or dream-come-true romance?