6-8 August 2006
Denali National Park Days 19-21
The drive to Denali National Park included more beautiful scenery, which makes the drives really enjoyable. The RV park we stayed at was on the edge of a glacial river gorge. We were all able to have sites overlooking the river, allowing us to watch the trains go by on the mountain opposite the park, and the white water rafters go by in the river rapids below us.
A number of us had elected to take a whitewater raft trip later on the day we arrived, and it was terrific. Just getting us into the wet suits and other gear was a hoot! Someone in another raft passed out, so things were a bit tense for awhile until he came to and reportedly was OK. The picture of us rafting (I'm on the front right) was taken by Richard up in front of our RV.
The next morning (at 6 AM!) a bus picked us up for a day-long tour of Dinali Park. The road is closed to most traffic (permits are required for researchers and others with a need to be out there) - the point being to preserve this area as a wilderness site. We had some exceptional sightings of: a huge male moose, a moose cow and calf; several Grizzlies - including a mother with 3 cubs; Dahl sheep; wolves; and many birds and other wild life. The road itself is pretty 'iffy' at times, and is particularly harrowing when tour buses need to pass on sharp curves (on a narrow road on the mountain-side with no guard rails, etc.!)
Our last evening in Denali a small group of us took a plane ride out to see Mt. McKinley (aka Dinali) - that was spectacular! We were in a small plane and flew between mountains throughout the mountain range there, and got very close to Dinali - felt about 20' away! Our group had never been so quiet - we were really awed by this sight. It was particularly nice to have done this, since the cloud cover had prevented us from seeing Dinali at all while we were there.