Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Denali National Park

We are at Cantwell RV Park in Cantwell, Alaska, which is 27 miles south of the Denali National Park. This park has a tight turn coming in that worried us a bit and some sites are not too level but otherwise is ok. They gave us and Escapees discount on an electric and water pull through site. We choose this park rather than one closer to Denali because of the wifi and that they offered dog sitting which we thought that we might want to use to go to the interior of Denali.

On our way from Trapper we stopped again at the Denali View South viewpoint which is part of Denali State Park. Views of the mountains were a bit better than the night before but still a large part of the mountain was obscured by clouds. We drove a few miles north and saw several cars at a large pullout on the west side of the highway and Dennis quickly pulled the bus over. We were able to see the top of Mt. McKinley (aka Denali) as the clouds opened up briefly. This was lucky as it was a cloudy day and the mountain is notoriously hard to see. This is what we saw.

Last evening we drove up to Denali National Park headquarters and looked around. We bought tickets to Eielson Center 8 a.m. shuttle. This is an 8 hour round trip, 66 miles each way. It is a mid range trip into the park (you can go only 15 miles by car). We decided to leave Roxie as we felt that she could be alone for this length of time without a dog sitter.

We made the trip into the park today. Mt. McKinley was hidden by clouds most of the time but we did get some views of the top. We also were able to see 4 grizzly bears, including 2 young ones playing vigorously, 2 moose, a very large group of Dall Sheep high up on a ridge, and a number of caribou. It was a pleasant trip. We have heard others complain that the school buses are uncomfortable, but did not find this to be so, although we were tired of riding when we were done as the stops off the bus were brief.

Here are some of the mountain and wildlife shots.
This is really a great view of the mountain, the clouds kept coming in an covering up the top as I was snapping these pictures.

I just couldn't resist this shot of the caribou.

Just about the most beautiful views of the mountains surrounding the park. The colors are amazing.

The grizzly bears in the park are mostly blond in color instead of brown. We found this mother with her two cubs playing, they were fun to watch.

Hard to see, but this is a Young golden eagle, the bald eagle is not seen often in the Denali park.

We spotted this lovely couple of ptarmigan (Alaska state bird) along the road.

Saw this large darker brown grizzly out in the field just before coming back into the visitor center

The guy has been tagged so his habits can be studied.

Dennis goofing around, he is kinda of cute.
My turn, would be really hard to cover these babies with a hat.

We have found that the campground in Cantwell is the only thing here that is reasonably priced. For others coming here we would say do not plan to buy gas here (3.50/gallon), do not buy bread here (6.29/loaf), do not buy milk here (4.59/half gallon). Well you get the idea - fortunately there is not much else here to buy.

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