What Does Legend Say About The Sleeping Lady?

sleeping lady

Alaska is a place of myths, rumors, and legends, and the sleeping lady is all rolled into one! Aren’t you curious whether the folktale related to the sleeping lady is true or a rumor?

Mount Susitna is often referred to as the sleeping lady in Alaska and across the world! However, it is the recent picture of a mountain covered with snow that looks like a sleeping woman from the bird’s view that is doing the rounds on the internet!

It has poked into the actual legend of Alaska related to the rumor of the sleeping woman. I will discuss this legend of the sleeping lady and Mount Susitna in the article! Further, read this article to learn more about the mountain’s geology and related facts.

What Does Legend Say About The Sleeping Lady?

What Does Legend Say About The Sleeping Lady?

The legend of The Sleeping Lady goes something like this! There was a time when giant people used to live on the land who were gentle and used to love the land. The giants used to live in harmony and peace with their children happy.

The adults were making plans about the land which stretched across the inlet of the sea. There was a young couple in the tribe, Nekatla, and Susitna, who loved each other so much! Their people loved them and respected them.

A stranger came one day to the Giant people and informed them of the warlike and fierce tribe living far up north who might attack the giants. It is when the giant people decided to travel up north and convince the warlike tribe to co-exist in peace and harmony.

Nekatla was going away, too, so he would be separated from his love, Susitna, for a long time. They went up to their favorite plateau, and Nekalta promised Susitna that he would return while Susitna had tears in her eyes.

He asked her to wait in that location because he wanted to find her when he returned. Susitna stayed at the same place picking berries and weaving baskets; however, Nekatla never returned because the warlike tribe attacked them.

Susitna fell asleep, and no women of the Giant People tribe did not wake her up; instead, they wove a blanket made of wildflowers and grass placed over her sleeping form. Their prayer to the Gods was also answered as a soft blanket of snow covered her!

About The Sleeping Lady: Mount Susitna

The Sleeping Lady Mount Susitna

According to the legend, it is in the summer that Susitna is covered in grass and wildflowers, while during the winters, the Gods cover her in snow. The picture of the sleeping lady does have snow in it, accentuating the body of a woman in the form of the sharp edges of the mountains.

Now, coming to reality, Mount Susitna is called the sleeping lady, especially in the pictures taken across the Knik Arm of the Cook Inlet from Anchorage, Alaska. The mountain is also known as the Little Mountain or Sandy River.

The mountain is situated on the west side of the bank of the lower Susitna River. It is a prominent landmark seen from elevated places in the Anchorage area.

The mountain has several Alaskan names, such as Denaina or Dghelishla, meaning the little mountain. It is also known as Dinglishna, which means “little ridge that extends” in Alaskan.



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The landform of Mount Susitna was created because it was topographically high, along with a bedrock body! It is what is called a Roche moutonnee that was created when the bedrock was constantly faced with glaciers.

The formation became smooth-sided and formed a teardrop-shaped resistance aligned with the flow of the ice! At least 5 to 7 glaciations have influenced the Anchorage Bowl topography that has been flowing over the years.

The Alaskan Ranges, Chugach, and Talkeetna are some elevations across which thick ice sheets flow down the Cook Inlet. The specific five glaciations that are responsible for the smoothly aligned body of the mountain are:

  • Caribou Hills
  • Naptowne
  • Nt. Susitna
  • Eklutna
  • Knik

There are further glacial features across the mountain and on top of it, which all come down to the anchorage area. At a certain point, they have taken a streamlined shape! The mount dates back to 2 to 6 million years ago!

Learn About The Legend!

Mount Susitna belongs to the early Pleistocene or the late Pliocene time! It is a part of the Jurassic plutons with the composition of quartz monzonite to granodiorite.

Want to know how the legend of the sleeping lady connected with Mount Susitna? The resemblance of the shape of the mountain is analogous to that of a sleeping woman! Especially when the local legend of Susitna and Nekatla was put to print by Nancy Lesh in 1962.

The people of Alaska confirmed the story, leading to further reattribution of the mountain with the tale. There was another retelling of the legend by Ann Dixon, and by that time, it had become so popular that it was public property.

Another folklore in the Denaina tribe is popular where an elder of the tribe Peter Kalifornsky recollects the story of the mountain people who gathered at Susitna, the plateau. A giant blast of the tribe states her desire to lie down by the river and, thus, become Susitna Mountain.

She loved the place, so she gave her life to take the form of Susitna. Other relatives of hers followed her and laid down to become other mountains of the region, namely Mount Iliamna, Chigmit Mountain Range, and Mount Redoubt. Another became Mount Denali.

Other Mountains Known As The Sleeping Lady!

Other Mountains Known As The Sleeping Lady!

Other mountains are known as the sleeping lady across the world. It is a term that is given as a nickname to many! Several Mountains, which look like it is in a deceased or reclining position, are sometimes called that!

Apart from Mount Susitna, Mount Timpanogos, located near Provo, Utah, and Mount Tamalpais, situated near San Francisco in California, is known as the sleeping lady.

Mount Chenoua, located in Algeria, looks like a pregnant woman lying down. Further, in Chile, located in the Andes, the Valle del Maipo Chile is also known as the sleeping lady.

Geographical Beauty Or Digital Creation?

Geographical Beauty Or Digital Creation Sleeping lady

The video or picture of the sleeping lady from the bird’s view, which has become viral on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, X, and others, is a digital creation.

Many people named it a natural occurrence, Mount Sisutna in Alaska; however, French artist Jean-Michel Bihorel titled this digital sculpture “Winter Sleep” in 2020 on Facebook and Instagram pages.

What All We Know!

The legend of the sleeping lady is something to be shocked about, but it also speaks about love, the unconditional love of a woman waiting for her lover to return home! The mountain’s nickname highlights the beauty of Sisutna but also tickles one’s curiosity.

We have created a difference between the original Mount Sisutna and how a digital creation is misinterpreted. I hope we have cleared the misunderstanding!

Comment below about your perspective of the mountain’s shape and whether you feel like it is a reclining lady!

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sagnika sinha
Sagnika Sinha is a content writer who is passionate about writing travel vlogs, entertainment and celebrity articles and literature-based pieces. With a 4 years experience in teaching, she loves reading books. A procrastinator by nature, she loves travelling, listening to music, planting and gardening.

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