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The Erratic Nature of Glaciers

A cache by mslc Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 9/15/2009
Difficulty:
1 out of 5
Terrain:
1 out of 5

Size: Size: other (other)

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Geocache Description:

This is the fourth of 6 earthcaches that highlight the landscape of Denali National Park and Preserve.

Welcome to Denali Geo-Ventures, a set of virtual earthcaches that highlight the amazing landscape that is Denali National Park and Preserve. These activities are offered through the Murie Science and Learning Center, a consortium of partners working with the National Park Service to support research and education efforts in Alaska’s northern parks. This set of earthcaches was created by Alaska Geographic, a non-profit organization dedicated to connecting people with our public lands.

These Denali Geo-Ventures take you behind the scenery; to investigating why the land at Denali’s entrance is so spectacular, and how it came to be. To ensure you have a positive experience and help us protect the park, please read through all of the ‘Before You Go’ information at the bottom of this page.

Rocks are old, silent, motionless, and emotionless, but they can still surprise and excite the careful observer. Do you see the large boulder ahead of you? Does it look different from the rocks around it, even out of place? Are you surprised to see it here and wondering where it came from?

Just as in other areas of our lives, things that surprise us often lead us towards new and exciting discoveries. This boulder is no different. Its size and rock type are so different from the rock around it that it couldn’t have been put here by either water or gravity alone. You might also notice that it looks particularly smooth.

This boulder is called a “glacial erratic.” Once a part of a large glacier, the eons of being ground by debris trapped in glacial ice has smoothed out its jagged edges and left it looking like a polished stone. When the glacier that held it began to melt and recede from this area, it left this rock behind. Today, it serves as evidence that a glacier covered this area at one time. In Denali, even boulders can be surprising!

To Get To This Cache: You can drive your car, walk the Roadside Trail or take the Savage River Shuttle and get off the bus as you near the coordinates.

To Log this cache: This glacial erratic is located at a busy spot. What mile marker on the Park Road is closest to it? Email your answer to courses@alaskageographic.org. Use ‘Denali Geo-Venture Site- Erratic Nature of Glaciers' in the subject line of your email.

Before You Go Information!!!
1. All of the Denali Geo-Venture sites are located on established park trails or roads and are within the first 15 miles of the park road. There is no need to go off these durable surfaces to find your site. Help us protect the park by avoiding the trampling of the fragile subarctic plants. Also, please abide by the Leave No Trace ethics for your entire stay in Denali.
2. Denali Geo-Ventures do not involve any physical caches to be found. You will be required to look for a clue at each cache and email your answer to courses@alaskageographic.org.
3. The completion of these Denali Geo-Ventures is easiest in the summer when the Park Road is open beyond Park Headquarters. In the winter months access to some of the caches can be done on a day hike, yet may require travel through snow and challenging conditions. For information about visiting Denali and weather conditions call the Denali Visitor Information line at (907) 683-9532.
4. Summer visitors with or without personal vehicles can participate in the Denali Geo-Ventures. If visiting without your own vehicle, you may need to make use of the free Savage River Shuttle bus to reach some of the Denali Geo-Venture sites. Consult a Shuttle Bus Schedule for hours of operation.
5. As with all visitors to Denali National Park and Preserve, you are required to pay the park entrance fee at the Denali Visitor Center or the Wilderness Access Center. Entrance fees are $10 per individual or $20 per vehicle. Several park passes are available and may be used in lieu of the park entrance fee.
6. For the east-end Park Visitor Center hours of operation visit this page of the Denali National Park and Preserve website.
7. Denali is a wilderness that is home to many species of wildlife, large and small. To ensure your safety while in this wilderness please remember to Keep Wildlife Wild and review our Bear and Wildlife Safety information.

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