Community editor and columnist Kris Capps is a longtime resident of Fairbanks and Denali Park. Contact her at, in the office at 459-7546 or by cell at 322-6334. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMKris.

DENALI NATIONAL PARK — Winter Solstice provided a glorious excuse for an early evening walk or ski through the woods Dec. 21 at Denali National Park.

It is becoming tradition that on the shortest day of the year, the park hosts a Winter Solstice Ski & Stroll.

A couple front-country trails are lined with festive luminaries, the perfect invitation for an evening outside. Temperatures hovered in the mid-20s and snow covered the ground, beckoning both area residents and visitors.

Krysia Baron, of Albuquerque, was there with her son, Colter. Ever since her husband, a deputy sheriff, was killed in the line of duty four years ago, she and her son travel for Christmas. This year, they are in Alaska. Baron also had another reason for visiting Denali National Park. She’d been a National Park Service ranger for many years.

Hot chocolate was available, at the event, along with mugs if needed, but many residents just brought their own. A bonfire blazed outside, luring many to enjoy camaraderie there. Inside, Girl Scouts offered baked goods for hungry skiers.

The Murie Science and Learning Center was also open (during winter, it functions as the park visitor center). Check out the new winter wall display, designed to orient visitors on where they are compared with the other mountains in the world. 

Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at Call her at the office 459-7546. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMKris.