Monday, 14 May 2012

June 7th-8th, 2010

Today we rode into Denali National Park and spent the day checking out the visitor center and confirmed our reservation for tomorrow.  

The tour bus leaves at 7:45am sharp and is an all-day affair.  We need to find a place close by to camp.  Lucky for us, the lady who issued our tickets gave us directions to a spot nearby at Antler Creek just off the highway. 

Not surprisingly Mount McKinley was in hiding again.  However, we did manage to see a movie at the visitor center that portrayed it quite well.  We rode into a town called Healy close by to pick up some food for tomorrow’s all-day extravaganza.  Man, do they ever take advantage of the tourists that come up here!  We bought a package of bologna, a loaf of bread, a gallon of water, and a small pack of corn nuts that totaled up to about $14. 

Searching for a campsite near Antler Creek

We woke up the next morning at around 5:30am to the sound of rain drops tapping on the tent fly.  I really do hate packing a wet tent, especially in the rain.  Can’t wait this one out unfortunately; we have a bus to catch. 

We covered our bikes and stored as much as we could in a day locker we rented for about $0.50 I think.  I was expecting to pay much more.  Judging by the current weather conditions, I think Denali may have dodged us again.  Thankfully that did not keep the animals from hiding as well.  Within minutes of the tour, we spotted this moose.

Look!  Look!  Momma grizzly bear with her cub! 

It’s hard to describe the excitement and beauty of seeing a grizzly bear in its natural element for the first time.  Everyone in the bus was silenced by this extraordinary sighting. 

Lunch break at the Eielson Visitor Center

Better luck next time.  If it weren’t for the clouds, Mount McKinley would be seen towering behind us.

If it weren’t for the flag, there's no way to distinguish we're in the US right now. 

There were times when the bus got awfully close to the edge of the cliff.  I can see why the park restricts vehicles from entering; not only for their own safety, but to preserve all this natural beauty.  It’s fascinating how the world once looked like this where animals roamed freely and the landscape untouched.  With technology advancing so quickly, it’s amazing that a place like this still exist. 

The end of the road

Gold is the reason for its existence

We managed to see a plethora of caribou, a fox, an eagle, and of course, more grizzly bears!

This time they were right by the side of the road.  Amanda moved to the front of the bus and sat on the stairs to the entrance of the bus to get a better view through the windowed doors.

I think one of the bears has me in their sights.  It was amazing to see how the bears weren’t skittish.  I think this has a lot to do with their limited interaction with humans. 

Thank goodness there’s still light out at this time of night.  We finished the tour at about 7:45pm (they weren’t kidding when they said it will be an all-day affair) and were ready to call it a day.  We camped at the same spot near Antler Creek and reminisced about all that we saw.  My only regret is not having a big enough backpack to haul all our gear and camp in the backcountry. 

83 km

No way in, but bus.

Deep into the wilderness.

Animals roam free.

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