Denali National Park and Preserve

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Denali means "The High One" in Athabascan. Standing at 20,237 feet, Denali is the tallest mountain in North America and has roughly 14,000 feet of vertical relief from base camp to summit--more even than Mount Everest. While native populations had lived within the boundaries of today's Denali National Park and Preserve for over 7,000 years, white settlers only arrived en masse starting in the 1890s. When they did arrive, it was to chase after Denali's abundant game supply and placer gold in the Kantishna mining area. Only a handful of renegades made attempts on the peak at the turn of the century. Setting off with two thermoses of hot chocolate and six donuts--and a 14-foot spruce pole to set on the summit--the "Sourdough Expedition" reached the mountain's north peak in 1910. Today, Denali draws over a thousand climbers each year, and the park provides a safe haven for wildlife and a beautiful natural playground for other backpackers and explorers.

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