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Friday July 12, 2013- Denali National park

Alaska fact- Tallest Peak- Mt. McKinley 20320ft.

Mt. McKinley-Denali Park Tour

We woke up at 4:45, with the alarm going off at 5AM. UGH! We rapidly got ready and left at 5:45. As we were driving to Denali National Park, we noticed that the low tire light was on. so we stopped at the only gas station and put air in the passenger side back tire.

We met up with Margie, Wayne and Cindy, driving into the parking lot. We all used the restrooms, then got in line at 6:20 for the 6:30 bus. Our driver was Mike. These buses are the green school buses, like we rode in yesterday,  which we knew, as we had taken this tour in 2005. Each tour is different, as the animals that you see or the weather is different.

We lucked out! Not a cloud in the sky!!!! Very unusual, especially at this time of year. Of course, it was cold. The temp when we left was 46 degrees, so we had dressed in layers. During the day the temp. increased to the 70’s.

We had only driven about 1.5 miles when someone called out “moose”! Sure enough, on our left, there was a mamma moose and her calf.  I could not get a picture, as I was facing directly into the sun.

We continued on our journey. We stopped at the first rest area at around 7:45. The only running water is at the Entrance Visitor Center and the Eielson Visitor Center. Bob and I did not realize until later that this was the same place that we had our picture taken in 2005 and used that picture for our Christmas card!

The scenery was spectacular.

Denali Park Tour

Dall sheep Denali Park Tour

Above, we saw this Dall Sheep on the hillside. Below, we saw these bears on the river.

Denali Park Tour

Denali Park Tour

Denali Park Tour

We stopped at a wayside to look at the view.

Denali Park Tour

We continued on to the  Toklat River rest area.( mile 53) This was the end of the line for us in 2005. The Eielson Visitor Center was closed in 2005 and 2006 for construction, so we missed quite a bit of the park!

Denali Park Tour

Fox by the side of the road-Denali Park Tour

Above, we stopped to look at this fox, just sitting, sunning, on the side of the road.

We arrived at the Eielson Visitor center ( mile 66 and 45 minutes from the Toklat rest area) and took pictures of Mt. McKinley. This is 40 miles from the mountain. You can go farther, but we did not want to be away from the dogs that long. This is the 8 hour tour. There is a 12 hour tour that goes all the way to Kantishna, which is much farther into the park, mile 95).

Denali Park Tour

Here is the temp and time table at the Visitor Center.

Denali Park Tour

I fell in love with this quilt on the back wall of the visitor center. It is called the seasons of Denali. I have never seen a quilt made this way. It was short, narrow strips. It was made by one woman.

Quilt-Denali Park Tour

When we walked outside, everyone was looking out over the back. This grizzly bear was there, just munching away!

Bear at the Eielson Visitor Center Denali Park Tour

We returned to the bus and Mike started back at 11:00. Most of the people on the bus had stayed at the Eielson, since it was such a nice day! You could do that, but it was a guess as to getting a bus ride back. You might have to wait a long time for a seat on another bus. We all went back, eating our lunch along the way.

We cruised along, and spotted some Ptarmigan, unfortunately I could not get a picture. There was also a golden eagle, circling overhead, but I could not get a picture of that either.

Here is one caribou, munching away on the side of the road.

Denali Park Tour

We stopped at the two rest areas again, and continued on searching for more wildlife.

We saw the same two bears on the river.

Denali Park Tour

We found more wildlife  in the middle of the road! This crazy male caribou was just sauntering down the middle of the road.

Crazy Caribou

We followed him for about 1.5 miles. We were coming up on the bridge, where the road changed from dirt to pavement, when he finally turned off into the bushes and went to have a drink in the river! Notice everyone stopped waiting for this crazy caribou!

Crazy Caribou Denali Park Tour

Crazy Caribou Denali Park Tour

Mike returned us to the Wilderness Access Center. I stamped my National Park Passport, and we went to the car. Of course, the passenger rear tire was flat. So Bob and Wayne changed the tire.

Bob changing tire-Denali Park Tour

We left there and went to the gas station to find out where to get the tire repaired. Margie and I had looked the tire over and did not see any nail. Bob found out we had to go to the town of Healy.

So we returned to the RV park, Bob walked the dogs, I put the washer on dry, and I wen to the office to see if we could stay an extra day. Originally we had wanted to go White Water Rafting, but it is just too cold. So we decided to go ATV riding instead. I checked at the office and we cannot stay, as they have no site available. Oh well….So we are leaving in the morning.

Bob took  the CRV to Healy. They could not find anything wrong with the tire. We think it is the tire monitor. There is a little stem cover and we think it might we stripped.

Bob returned to the motor home and we left to go to dinner. We went to 49th State Brewery. Bob had Elk Lasagna and I had pork schnitzel.  Bob also had their Saison, which he declared to be very good!

We went back to the motor home, hung up the laundry, put in another load, and ran into Denali to the shops. No further issue with the tire this evening.

We returned home and did more laundry. We both fell asleep at around 9:30! What a wonderful day!

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