Exploring the Denali Highway and Brushkana Creek
The season shift here has kind of thrown me for a loop. The light is shifting, the days are shortening, and that has made me pull inward and want to focus on other things. So much for all these photos I had ready to share!
It’s a rainy evening here in greater Houston, where we are going to miss the massive cold front everyone else is getting. It is going to fizzle out an hour or so west of here. Guess we will be sticking with summer for a few more weeks until hopefully the next front. Another reason I’ve been not-so-interested writing here is that my right shoulder has been killing me due to poor ergonomics and working from home. I’ve been working on a mapping project at work that has me creating a lot of polygons and even when I’m at my desk at the office doing this kind of heavy mapping work it still can hurt after a while. So, mesh that with the various places I find myself seated at in the house and it is a recipe for an aching shoulder. Which means the last thing I’ve been wanting to do is sit on the computer in the evenings.
This post is the first part of our trip down the Denali Highway, which isn’t a highway in the sense you will ever think! We went as far as the Brushkana Campground at mile post 104 before turning around and coming back to Cantwell and heading south to Anchorage. The photos really speak for themselves but I’ll pipe in when commentary is necessary!
My plant IDs are thanks to iNaturalist but I’m going to call on now-resident Alaskans, Patrice and Justin to correct my wayward identifications!
Our first stop along the road was to an creek and pond not far from Cantwell. Chris wanted to fish and Forest, Eliana, and I walked around and took in the sights.
We wandered a bit further down the road to what appeared to be a hunting campsite or some kind of base camp area for locals. Chris attempted to fish once more and we poked around in the bush a little bit before deciding to move on down the road.
When we arrived at Brushkana Creek and campground (though the sign says Brushkana River) we knew this would be the spot we’d stop and hang out the longest. The river was good for fishing and it turned out to be the perfect spot to forage for blueberries!
Bog Bilberry, Vaccinium uliginosum
Of course Forest had fun walking through the blueberries and traipsing through the mazes of trails from other visitors. Eliana was the smart one who kept reminding us to talk loudly and say “Hey Bear!” because you really never know when one could pop up!
Alpine Bearberry, Arctous alpina
Lingonberry, Vaccinium vitis-idaea – I wish I’d known this was edible when I saw it because I would have tried it!
After exploring the south side of the river we trekked across the street and walked up into the campground where we only noticed one other person camping. If we ever get to return to Alaska I would definitely love to stay a night or two at this campground!
We spent quite a while on the north side and enjoyed walking up the creek but the afternoon was going fast and we still had to drive the rest of the way back to Anchorage as well as factor in any other pitstops along the way on the Denali Highway and back on the main road south. If you don’t have a ton of time to travel the whole highway and are in the area I do recommend going at least to this part along the road from Cantwell. Missing Alaska a lot!
Patrice La Vigne
Do NOT rely on me for plant ID, LOL. You are much better equipped to do that even if you don’t live here.
I would love to be able to go sneak off to Brushkana Creek for a day.