Our Big Adventure in
A subset of the pictures from the trip. As always, clicking on the picture will
open a larger image.
These pictures cover the first stage of the trip. After flying to Anchorage, we
picked up our rented RVs, shopped for groceries, and headed north up the George
Parks highway to Denali National Park. A black bear crossing the road was our
lone black bear sighting on the trip. We arrived at the park late in the day
and drove 29 miles in to the campground. The Teklanika campground is the
furthest one in that allows RVs.
Saturday we got up early to clear blue skies and caught the bus that would take
us further into the park. This is the only way to get around inside the park.
We booked our bus reservations months ago. The buses stop for any wildlife
photo opportunities and we had quite a few. The bus ride was about eight hours
round trip. This included numerous stops but the road conditions keep the buses
moving slowly. The road is gravel and sometimes is reduced to one lane with
hairpin turns. You never know what is going to be coming around the next corner.
The views of Denali (Mt. McKinley) were fabulous. Along the way we saw Dall
sheep (sheep dots for the most part), moose, a fox, beavers, caribou and grizzly
Sunday we decided to stay close to camp and take it a bit easier. In the morning
we did some hiking in the Teklanika river valley. Sometimes you can hike far out
into the river bed and other times the various streams of the river would force
you back onto the river bank. In the afternoon, we hiked up to an overlook near
the campground. Much of this hiking was not on established trails, where we
simply hiked through the forest or open fields. The ground is covered with deep
mosses and other plants, so the ground sinks down with every step.
The next day we caught the bus again (no reservation needed this time) and
headed to the Polychrome Pass area to do some more hiking. We were fortunate and
got to see several grizzlies and caribou along the way. After leaving the bus,
we hiked up to a ridge for some great views of Polychrome mountain and the
Toklat river valley. We soaked in the enormity of it all as we ate our lunch.
After getting back down to the road, we hiked along the road for a few miles
before flagging down a bus to get back to the campground.
Denali National Park
red fox was sleeping at its mound during the bus ride in and was still there on
the way back.
having an early breakfast.
does a caribou cross the road?
little closer look at a caribou.
first look at the great one.
with a whisp of cloud. The road meanders onward on the far right.
is much higher than most of the mountains in the area.
the fall colours of the foliage.
were a few beaver ponds along the road. Not so much when the road was single
lane on a mountain pass.
friend having a bite to eat.
are getting closer but the closest the road gets is still 20 miles from the
saw a number of caribou.
must have been an easy way up from the back side of this ridge.
grizzly bear cubs on a hillside.
bear with her clan.
river bed near our campground. Teklanika is Athabascan for "much river bed,
the RV at Teklanika campground. Once you parked you could only move it to leave.
on the Teklanika river bed.
Arctic Ground Squirrel/Snack food of the tundra.
camped here for four nights. Note the elevation.
Campground from a ridge.
view from the ridge.
shot from the ridge looking across the campground and the Tek river valley.
shot in the other direction. It looked like a short hike until you realize the
trees are so small.
mosses? Hiking on the tundra is like walking on a big sponge.
from the campground of the ridge we hiked up.
were lots of Snowshoe hares around the campground.
setting sun lights up the hillside to the east.
out for breakfast. The grizzlies in Denali are smaller because they eat less
grizzly bear decided to walk right past the bus. Too bad everyone's cameras
were set up for telephoto shots.
grizzly bear was on an island in the east Toklat river bed.
looking west with the road winding onward.
western view from the other side of the ridge with some of Polychrome mountain
to the right.
across the Toklat river valley. One of those glaciers is the Polychrome
glaciers - not sure why it is nowhere near Polychrome mountian.
caribou down in the Toklat river valley.
along we managed to spot this little Pika running around among the rocks.