Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Denali National Park

We left Wasilla on Tuesday after picking up our entries in the Alaska State Fair in Palmer. Tuesday night we parked near the new home of our long time friends, Anna and Mickey. Wed. morning we were on the Parks Highway heading north for a much too brief visit at Denali National Park.
The aspens, birch and cottonwoods were a blaze of gold in the bright sun, a contrast to the dark green of the spruce.Dale spotted a road-killed porcupine. We stopped so he could pull the quills. Lynne and I have been making earrings from the quills.

Denali National Park's 6 million acres are accessible by only one road, primitive, largely unpaved, winding through the wilderness.

After a brief stop at the Wilderness Access Center to arrange for camping at the Savage River Campground, and for a bus tour to Eileson Visitor's Center, we proceeded to travel slowly through the taiga and forest.
Chores never end. I cooked dinner for us in my rig.

The sky was clear and temperature quite chilly. We took a walk around the large isolated campground enjoying the solitude and quiet.

Ducking under a large white spruce, I discovered the largest burl I'd ever seen. Caused by a virus that attacks the tree, the tree compensates by growing this huge woody appendage.

A spectacular sunset was an indication of a beautiful tomorrow.

Early the following morning we doned coats, gloves and carried packs of snacks and lunch to the bus stop. Drivers are not permitted to drive personal vehicles past the Savage River Bridge unless they have a permit for the Teklinika Campground or a hiking permit. By restricting visitors to big green buses, more tourists can enjoy the park with a minimum of intrusion on the wilderness.
Our bus must have originated in Japan! Most of the tourists were speaking languages unfamiliar to me.

This picture taken at one of the overlook stops shows several of the Japanese wearing masks. were they afraid of Swine flu? the cold brisk air made that threat unlikely.

Our first glimps of Mt McKinley, also know by the Native name Denali, was from the highway as we traveled along. Only 35% of visitors are privileged to view the mountain as it is ususally shrouded in clouds and mist.
We were fortunate to be able to vies and photograph the mountain from several stops.
The Sanctuary River and the Savage River are examples of braided rivers. the wide bed criss crossed by ever changing flow causes the rivers to be unstable and dangerous.

Wild life hunting is fun for every one. some more serious photographers than others.
Dall rams on the cliffs of Primrose Ridge.

scene of our bus and another from an over look. See the herd ofhomo sapiens!

Mt McKinley from the Eilerson Visitors Center.

Bald Eagles are rare in Denali because they prefer fish and their ususal habitat is near the coast. Golden Eagles are frequent to Denali.
This grizzly is crossing a ridge on the tundra. We saw other bears but they didn't photograph well.This red fox ran along the tundra and then in front of the stopped bus. It ignored the tourists hanging out the windows to take its picture.

Look carefully at the lowe left corner of the picture to find another bus traveling far below us. We would soon follow down that winding road.

This is only a brief overview of the majestic Denali NP. For more pictures see me when I arrive home.
We are now back at Camp Baldwin preparing camp for winter by hiding anything a rodent might find edible or nesting material, draining water lines, and preparing for minus 50 degree winter weather. This morning the temperature was 28 degrees with a frost.


LKHarris-Kolp said...

WOW~ more beautiful pictures! We're still wearing shorts here. Can't wait to see you. I've missed you.

The Voice said...

I am really honored with the tour of Alaska I am getting through your eyes. You write and photograph beautifully. Another book in the making?

Have fun, be safe.