Denali National Park
Jul 2, 2019
|Day 46, July 2
Arrived in Denali National Park around lunchtime. Set up the trailer in a really nice site in Riley Creek Campground and Dianna wanted me to get the TV on so she could watch. Sorry dear this is a national park so no hookups. You will have to wait until I can run the generator, between 4 and 8 PM. Riley Creek is near the entrance to the park. We will be here for 3 nights then move to an interior campground. Teklanika campground is at mile 29. We will be there for the final 4 nights. You can drive the park road to Teklanika but once there you cannot drive your vehicle except to leave the park. But you have unlimited access to the park busses for travel further into the park. The best wildlife viewing is further in from Teklanika so getting on the bus there avoids a hour or more each way where there is not much to see. Today was mostly cloudy with a high in the upper 60s but by Friday when we move to Teklanika the weather is supposed to be sunny with highs near 80. Hopefully with that forecast we will be able to see Denali mountain.
Day 47, July 3
Woke up to a nice morning, not as cold as the forecast said. I think the low was around 55 but with overcast skies. We took the doggies for an exploratory car ride just outside the park to see if there were any photo opportunities. As we left our campsite we only went about 200 feet on the campground road when we came upon a young bull moose munching on leaves. Got a few nice shots from the truck as he was only about 20 feet away and could care less that we were there. He was still around in a different area of the campground when we returned a couple of hours later. In the afternoon we went to the sled dog area for a ranger talk and a sled dog demo. They have about 30 sled dogs here that are actually working dogs in the winter. In the evening we went to Denali Park Village for a dinner show, Alaska Cabin Nite. They served us a nice meal of ribs, salmon, veggies and some kind of berry cobbler. The show after dinner was very nice. They tapped me as an audience participant in one of their skits. Good thing Dianna does not know how to work my camera as like OSHA says if there is no record it did not happen. The best part of the dinner show was I had a 2 for 1 coupon that I was able to use from my toursaver book.
Day 48, July 4
Happy 4th of July. This will be our last day here at Riley Creek campground. Tomorrow we move further into the park to Teklanika campground with the opportunity to see much more wildlife. Today we did not do much as Dianna was not in the mood for anything. So we went for a ride up the highway in the truck and walked around the campground in the afternoon.
Day 49, July 5
Moved 30 miles into the park to Teklanika campground. On the way we saw a cow moose with her two young calves. Unfortunately they were on the passenger side of the truck so all I could do was get a good look. There are no hookups at this campground either so Dianna is at a loss for something to do without TV all day. The only time we have TV is between 4 and 8 PM while the generator is working. After dinner we rode the park bus further into the park. We saw a number of snowshoe rabbits, ptarmigans and were held up by a caribou jam. Actually it was just a single bull caribou that liked standing in the center of a small bridge. In the park you are not allowed to harass the wildlife and that includes trying to get them off the roads by using your vehicle. So there we were, 5 busses stopped on either side of the bridge waiting for the caribou to walk off. Finally a park ranger came by in his truck and eventually got the caribou to move off. Nice scenery along the way as the sky was nearly cloud free. We could see Denali in the distance. Time for apple pie and ice cream when we returned to the trailer.
Day 50, July 6
Today we got on the park bus around 7:30. There is a bus stop at the entrance to the campground. Remember we are not permitted to use our personal vehicle except to leave at the end of our stay. We rode the bus to the Eielson Visitor Center which is 45 miles further inside the park. It takes a little over 3 hours to get there using the park road which is dirt and gravel. The bus has designated bathroom stops along the way and also will stop if anyone spots any wildlife. We did see grizzly bears, caribou, dall sheep, and more ptarmigans and snowshoe rabbits. The bears and sheep were too far away to get a photo but the caribou were close enough to get a good shot. It was a beautiful day with clear skies so by the time we got near Eielson the mountain was in full view with a blue sky background. As we departed Eielson to return to the campground, the sky became a little hazy with smoke from the fires near Fairbanks. But by that time I already had my photos.