7/20 - 7/24/09 Denali National Park

We were very excited about our trip to Denali National Park. I've dreamed of visiting this place since I was in college and my advisor showed many photos and slides of this area from when he was a park ranger up here. It certainly lived up to all I had dreamed and even more!!!!!

On our way into where our campground is, we saw a bunch of little birds running off the side of the road. Here's one of the little baby ptarmagins that we saw! These are the Alaska state bird (although many still think it's the mosquito! ;-) )










When we arrived at our campsite, we had to get the shoehorn out to get all situated inside. Actually once we got settled in, it was a really great site!







The next couple of photos were the view from the river behind our campsite. There was a small trail leading right down to it. These were the views the next morning before we got started heading into the park.






We took a shuttle bus into the park all the way to the other end and back again. Instead of me going on and on, I figured I'd just include some photos of the breath-taking scenery. This national park is a true treasure!!









































Yes, that is the road that we drove over along the side of that mountain. Yes, it really is as narrow as it looks like. And yes, we really did have to pass other buses going the other direction!!!!! Yikes!!!!



























This was our ride for the day. We were lucky enough to have a really great driver, Sheryl, that shared tons of great information on many, many things on the park and all that surrounds it. They don't allow personal vehicles past a certain point in the park. We camped at the last location that you're allowed to drive into.



Then all of a sudden, as we came around a corner, there it was! At an elevation of 20,320 feet. The tallest mountain in the United States.........Mt. McKinley!!









Over 4 miles high!!! To say it was incredible is such an understatement!!!!! Only about 20% of all people trying to see it actually get to do just that!




















We made a stop at Wonder Lake on the way back. There's a small campground there. It would be a great place to camp!! But you've gotta pack all your stuff in by bus.





We couldn't believe how close this female grizzly was to the bus. She was amazingly beautiful!!!!!!










Then we all saw this little spring cub coming out of a hole in the side of the hill. Talk about adorable!!!!! We actually got to see a total of 14 grizzlies our first day in the park and then another 11 the next!! Awesome!!!





This caribou just kept walking up the road for quite some time before he finally went off to the side. He left no question as to who was really in charge!



These yearling grizzly cubs were playing and playing with each other. I don't even know how long we sat there and watched them. So cute!!!!















This is a small pond that was near our campground. We went for a hike to try to see some Lynx, but no such luck.











Then the next day, we took another shuttle bus ride into the park again. Although they just look like white blobs on the hillside, they are actually Dall Sheep up on the mountain. We saw tons and tons of them, but photographing them is not an easy task.


I know it's not the best picture, but we saw this red fox on our shuttle bus ride too. It's the best that I was able to get as the little fella took off up and over the hill.





We arrived at the Eileson Visitor Center and decided to take the hike up the mountain across the street. It was a straight shot up , but the views from the top were just amazing! We had hoped for a bit better weather but were happy that it wasn't pouring on us.




That's the area that we started our hike from. There's a visitor center down there. Wow! That was a tough up, up and more up!!







Can you tell it was a bit chilly up on top? The wind was brutal!! It was gusting up to 50+ mph. It about knocked me over at one point!








That's the top of the mountain that we had just climbed down from. Whew! Somehow it doesn't look that tough anymore.

Comments

  1. Stumbled across your blog while browsing through Blogger. Sounds like you are having a wonderful time! Glad you are enjoying our beautiful state. Happy travels!

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  2. Greetings from So Cal! I have been following your travels and this set of images was just spectacular. Sounds like you guys are having the time of your lives..."just for today". Thanks for keeping all of us up to date!

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  3. I had 2 sisters that worked in Denali for several summers and they LOVED it! It's definately not a warm place, but very beautiful! That's awesome you saw McKinley. Not many people do.

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  4. Denali National Park; Alaska is six million acre park with really exotic birds & mammals to be explored. From black & grizzly bears, wolves, dall sheep, moose & caribou to beautiful variety of Alaskan birds like Raven, great horned owls, ptarmigan, waxwings, Arctic Warblers, pine grosbeaks, and wheatears & tundra swan. It’s heaven for nature lovers, bird watchers & animal lovers. To acquire more information, refer: http://www.travelfront.com/exotic-wildlife-of-denali-national-park/

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