The trip up to Denali National Park was uneventful and we arrived here a little after noon on Tuesday the 14th. There were a lot of people here but it wasn’t as crowded as I expected, perhaps due to mid-week, perhaps due to the economy. We will see which this weekend. The campgrounds are for the most part full though. The couple in line in front of me picked up the last site available in the Savage River Campground. I had made my reservation last week so this year it seems you may need to make reservations, especially for >30 feet RVs, but not until a week are so within arriving. We had made reservations for the Teklanika Campground last January and I noticed it was full on the board when I was checking in for Savage River. We will stay her at Savage River, which is 13 miles into the park, for two nights then spend one night at Riley Creek at the park entrance before going 29 miles into the park to stay at Teklanika four nights. We will have to leave Libby at the Riley Creek parking lot when we go to Teklanika. That is the farthest RV campground into the park and is 14 miles past where they allow private vehicles to go. Only the camping unit is allowed and it must stay in the campground until time to check out. We will have to ride the shuttle busses to get around while there.
Our site at Savage River is very nice. All of the sites for large RVs are pull-throughs at this campground and like all of the park campgrounds there are no hookups. We also will not have any cell service while we are at Savage River or Teklanika – too far into the park. After getting set up at the campsite we drove Libby back to the Visitors center to get acquainted with the park. Again there were crowds but not what is usual, especially after the tour busses had departed. We watched a movie on the park and got a trail map so we could find a couple of trails to walk while here. We then went to the Riley Creek Campground to check out the site availability there. When you make reservations here, it is much like reserving at the Georgia State Parks. You are guaranteed a site just not a specific site. It is first come, first serve on site selection. Remarkably many of the sites are not very shaded, even in all of these trees. But we did see a couple of sites that looked good and would be vacated on Thursday when we go there. We have already checked in for Riley Creek so it will just be a matter of going there and backing into a site.
We haven’t been able to see much of the park due to all of the smoke generated by the four fires to the East of the park. You can’t see much but the outlines of a mountain two miles away so there is little chance of seeing Denali itself as long as these conditions persist. The fires have been burning for about two weeks at this time and there is little chance of putting them out until we get some rain which is forecast for tomorrow. Hopefully it will rain and at least clean the air up a little.
Wednesday morning we were greeted with the much anticipated rain. It had rained much of the night and was still raining steadily. We ate breakfast and were just sitting around when a moose came right up to the motorhome and started eating the bush next to the living room slide. I got one picture of her that close but the stupid camera focused on the screen. You can still see her but not very well. I got a couple more pics after she went down the road a few feet and I went outside. She noticed me but didn’t really seem to care that I was there. She was really large. She was stripping branches as tall as I am (six feet) and had to bend down to do that. She had to be at least seven high at the head. It continued to rain all day Wednesday so we didn’t do much but crafts and reading books. It was nice to have a leisurely day but hopefully the weather will clear, the fires will die down and we will get to really see the park the next five days. Tomorrow, Thursday, we go to Riley Creek for one night to get ready for the four nights at Teklanika.