Cruising the USA 2008 - Trip of a lifetime! travel blog

Denali Sign

Mt. McKinley in the sun








Rose in the bus to Kantishna



















Living in a tent

The Girls on the bridge

We had to get up at 5am to get breakfast before the long busride to Kantishna and Wonderlake back in Denali National Park. The bus was like an old Schoolbus and not very comfy. However, the landscaping and scenery was something else. Not even 20 minutes into the park, we saw a bear and a little further down some deer. The day was absolutely beautiful and Mt. McKinley was showing his entire size glowing in the sun.

Denali, the "High One," is the name Athabascan native people gave the massive peak (Mount McKinley) that crowns the 600 mile long Alaska range. Many generations of native Athabascans wandered over this region before Caucasians began to discover and explore it. Nomadic bands hunted lowland hills of Denali's northern reaches spring through fall for caribou, sheep and moose. They preserved berries for winter, netted fish, and gathered edible plants. As snow began to fall, they migrated to lower elevations, closer to the river valleys' better protection from winter's severe weather. Much of the Alaska Range formed a mighty barrier between interior Athabascans and Cook Inlet Athabascans to the south.

The road was pretty narrow and sometimes scary with no guardrails and steep declines but we made it safely to Wonderlake and Kantishna, which is the furthest we were allowed to go. There are no public vehicles allowed back there and only the tourbusses and the Rangers are allowed back there.

We tried gold panning in the cold river without any luck but had so much fun trying. There is still an original tent from the goldrush and it is unbelievable that people actually lived in there in this very rough environment. -40F is not an unusual temperature during the wintertime, which lasts from October to May. As far as the wildlife goes, look at the pictures.

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