Thanksgiving far away from Home
Written by Marcus Heerdt
November 25, 2019

I usually find myself far away from home during Thanksgiving, and that is just fine with me. No matter where I am in the world on Thanksgiving Day, I still take the time to remember all of the things I am thankful for in my life and eat a good meal.

My favorite Thanksgiving was spent in Denali National Park in 2017. Two park ranger friends who worked at Denali offered their cabin inside the park over the holiday break for myself and a friend. At that time, I was living in the small Alaskan village of Aniak, so I flew into Anchorage on Wednesday morning and then together we drove the four hours north to the park.

I am thankful for nature, wilderness, and the ability to travel in general. I will never forget the intense blue of the sky that Thanksgiving morning contrasted with the bright snow-capped Alaska Range.

That holiday weekend, the temperatures hovered between -50 and -60 F but that did not stop us from getting out and exploring on snowshoes. We ventured through the park with our heavy winter gear and encountered different kinds of birds (picture below is me looking at a Gray Jay) as well as some moose.

At that time of year, the sun set between 3 and 4 p.m. and we drank tea, played cards, and cooked hearty meals during the long evenings.

I had been to Denali National Park many times previous, but had never seen the mountain up close as it is usually covered in clouds, mist, and rain. On the last day, the sun shone brightly and there were no clouds obscuring the peak. We stopped at a pullout on the road and just gazed at it for a while, and for that I am thankful, as I have not seen the mountain since.

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