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Harry and Judy's RV Trip
5th Jun 2014 - Alaska 2014
Day 7-June 5, 2014-Denali National Park Backcountry Adventure

Day 7-June 5, 2014-Denali National Park Backcountry Adventure

Up at 4:00AM, breakfast at 5:15 at, where else, the Prey Restaurant.  Their breakfast in wonderful, everything from yogurt and fruit to eggs, sausage, bacon, oatmeal, cold cereal and all the pastries you could ask for.  All fresh and appetizing, even at this early hour.

The motorcoach left the cabins at 6:00AM and took us 95 miles into Denali Park on a gravel road that only allows their tour buses.  There were only two today.  There are several rest stops, where they provide snacks (our driver, Dave, said he got up at 2AM to make chocolate chip cookies and they were wonderful).  He had other snacks plus coffee, tea, hot chocolate, cold drinks, etc.  He was great at spotting wildlife and we saw caribou, golden eagles (there are no bald eagles here) Dall sheep and moose with calves but no bears, only tracks and scat.  At one point he pulled over and right on the side of the road there were three Dall sheep and two lambs that were only about a week old but already they were scampering and head butting each other.  We stayed and watched quite a while, they didn’t seem to mind us at all. 

At the end of the road in Kantishna is the Denali Backcountry Lodge where we had a great lunch and ran into Jackie & Liam again.  Then we spotted Kay & Greg & Kris & Bill again.  This is a very small state!  After lunch we opted to pan for gold in Moose Creek right outside the lodge but had no luck.  A trained guide gave us a good idea of the time and trouble it took to pan for gold and we walked over a suspension bridge to view a restored tent site that a miner would use.  Lots of people told us that the mosquitoes would be terrible here but there weren’t that many and they’re big, slow and noisy which makes them easy to swat before they get you.  The guide said one of the reasons the caribou go north in the summer is because the mosquitoes attack their tender noses and they could lose a pint of blood a day from them.  Also, their noses can get so swollen they suffocate.  Started to rain and get cloudy again and on the 95 mile ride back we didn’t see Mt. McKinley, just some wildlife off in the distant mountains.  We never got above 3980’ in elevation but the roads were windy and narrow.  Didn’t make as many rest stops on the way back but did have another snack break.  Of all the National Parks we’ve visited this one is definitely “wilderness”.  There are very few services available in the park even at the visitors center and the 6.2 million acres are primitive, untouched and all about the wildlife. 

We got back too late for the last shuttle to town so we ate dinner at, you got it, Prey Restaurant.  Different sandwich, same fries.  We’re really feeling the loss of a car right now, but we’re probably too tired to drive anywhere anyway.  Bed early again.

Next: Day 8-June 6, 2014-Denali Jeep Excursion Tour
Previous: Day 6-June 4, 2014-Denali National Park

Diary Photos

More lambs

Windy road in Denali

Road & Mountains in Denali

Mt. McKinley again

Denali NP sign

Road in Denali

Grand Old Flag

Mountain in Denali

Weather in Denali

Great motto!

Road in Denali NP

Caribou on hill

Can you see the moose

Moose and baby from bus

Backcountry Lodge

Gold panning area

Panning for gold

Lambs again

Papa Sheep

Baby lambs

Lambs running

Herd of caribou from bus

Me panning for gold

Caribou on flats

Sheep on hill

View from bus

Young ram

Lambs and Dad

Papa in Denali

Diary Movies

Lambs at Denali

Lambs butting heads

Lambs movie

Lambs playing

More lambs

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