We glimpsed Mount Denali in the distance, the early afternoon sun brilliant across the summit, and decided we needed a better view.Wasilla, a wasteland of malls and franchises, Sarah Palin’s hometown, stood in the way. And then we found ourselves in the wilderness again, the trees white and heavy with frost, Denali appearing, flashing between them. We drove on, certain that the ideal vista was just over the next rise. We continued through the empty landscape, dotted by log cabins and espresso shacks; the snow deepened, the light on Denali’s summit fading, as we passed an overturned truck. No soul in sight; further on, a pair of moose. “We should turn back.”
I was thinking the same. But we didn’t. We drove on. And then it was there, finally, a sudden full view, the mountain and all of the ridges below. We got out and took our pictures. I didn’t know how far we had gone, maybe 30 miles, 40 at most.
That’s what the mileage sign read; we had driven a hundred miles, impossibly so, enticed by the dream of a distant mountain towering over the land.
“What would you think of going up?”
“You mean to the top?”
“How long could it take?”