After my hike I attempted to drive up and over Hatcher Pass (as recommended to me by multiple people around Alaska) but the road was closed for construction so I drove down and around through Palmer and continued on my way back to my home base in Denali National Park. The next day I hopped on a raft trip with some new friends from the area on the Nenana River. I mentioned that I might have some plants in a marshy area along the river, so we spent the night at a secret river guide campsite before hiking out the next day to plant hunt. We didn't find the plant but how cool is plant hunting via raft on a class 4 river?
I laid low the next day and did some office work because that night (Friday) I was the invited speaker for the Murie Science and Learning Center Science Speaker Series. It was a fun audience and I think the talk went as well as it could have, which is not always how I feel after giving talks. The next day I ventured into the park for the first time. I had been trail running on some of the dirt paths around the visitor center but I hadn't really explored the park yet. So, I drove to Savage River, the farthest into the park personal vehicles can go, and started down the River Trail. That trail was awfully mellow so I quickly left it and headed straight up towards Primrose Ridge. The first part of the hike, well, sucked. I was traversing up the ridge, not following a trail, and it seems I did not chose the best route. I was swamped in willows, on steep terrain, and moving very slowly. I eventually picked my way out of the woods and was relieved to find myself in tundra. From there it was a pretty easy, but super windy, jaunt along the ridge line to the nearest peak, Mount Margaret. Along the way I found four(!) Micranthes and ended up really close to a group of Dall Sheep. I strolled down the other side of the mountain, which was a much more chill route, and caught a park bus the few miles back to my car. Two of the Micranthes I collected were new to me, so between new collections, bagging a peak, and a sheep encounter it was another really, really great Alaskan day.