The Magnificent Mt McKinley
We are blessed to see this mountain which is only visible 20% of the time
Denali National Park is one of the greatest places in this country to see. The scenery and wildlife is so spectacular. As Dave and I walked up to the Wilderness Center for our bus tour, a moose was standing just feet from us on the path. I quietly took her photo and she quietly scratched her head on a branch. Once at the center we boarded our 7:30 am bus to Fish Creek. It was a partly cloudy day and our expectations of seeing Mount McKinley (Mount Denali) were slim.
Our bus driver/narrator John Nelson was very well seasoned at his job. He knew almost all there was to know about this park. We saw a ptarmigan on the road as we started our tour. This one had color, not the like the one we saw nearer the Arctic Circle which was still mostly white. They change color with the seasons. Next we saw one lonely caribou out on the ice. He was just as curious about us as we were about him and he stopped several times to stare our way.
We saw several more caribou, a horned rim owl and her fledgling and then a great big
grizzly bear walking down the middle of the road. This bear was huge. A little further down the road we saw a Mama bear with her 3 cubs who were almost as big as she was. John said that the cubs were about 3 years old and that is when the Mama’s milk dries up and she chases her young off and she is ready to mate again.
The scenery consisted of mountain views everywhere, with glaciers, rivers, lakes and wet and dry tundra areas mixed in between. The dirt road became very narrow just before Polychrome and there were sheer drop offs, several hundreds of feet deep, at the edge of this windy path that clung to the side of a mountain. I didn’t mind much until I was on the outside hanging over the edge on the return trip.
We saw loads of Dall Sheep feeding on steep mountainsides. One ram came right up to the side of the road and was staring at the bus ahead of us. Whenever we see wildlife the buses will stop and make sure everyone has a chance to see and take pictures of it. This little guys obliged us
A lone caribou skirts across the ice
He stopped several times to look at us
also with a great photo op. Altogether, we saw 12 bears today including another mother with her 3 cubs. We also saw a wolf who was sleeping pretty soundly.
Standing before us as we approached Fish Creek was majestic Mt. McKinley in all her glory. There were clouds covering her South Peak, but we had a great view of most of this 20,320 foot awesome mountain. Mt. McKinley, officially named that by the US government, is the tallest mountain in North America. The Alaska State official name was changed in 1980 however, and they now called it Denali. No matter the name the mountain will take your breath away.
Back at our campsite later in the evening , there was a commotion outside of our tent. Dave opened the door and saw extremely long legs just feet from our tent. A moose had wandered into the campground and entertained the campers for about the next hour, gracing alongside the campground roads eating leaves off the trees.
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