Friday, July 1, 2011

Alaskan Adventure: Denali

After our quick day in Anchorage we headed out again to Denali (Mt. Mckinley) National Park. We were off for two nights of camping and a day long tour of the park. 

To be honest, Jon and I were a little on the fence about going in the first place. It was a LOT of driving/sitting in a  short amount of days. We're talking 5 hours there, 11 hours on a bus on Sunday, 5 hour drive back monday, and then getting on a plane monday night for 5 more hours. Yes, 26 hours sitting in a 2.5 day period... not so much fun.

But in the end we were convinced, and I'm so glad we were! The drive there was gorgeous and the park was fantastic as well!

This was probably around 8 or 9 at night.
Note to self: Camping in Alaska in the summer without an eye mask... not advised.
Jon's and my tent had a yellow rain fly which made it "sunny" the whole night through :)
Jon was most definitely regretting my offer to buy him and eye mask before we left.

Our day in Denali started out extremely overcast.. but the clouds actually added a cool atmosphere. That and we were tired so we may have all passed out for a while.

We saw Caribou!
Denali is filled with animals and they are not tampered with in any way.
Just allowed to roam free and let random loads of bus riders snap pictures of them.

I truthfully thought that 11 hours on the bus was going to be bad, but we stopped every 1 1/2 hours or so which helped.

Alright story time.. so you see the man in the vest? That's bus driver John... who was great.
He did have this little microphone thing though to give commentary, but when he wasn't commenting we could just here him wheezing.
I'm talking Darth Vader wheezing, as in we were all staring at each other wondering if we were going to careen off of a cliff at any moment because our bus driver might die, wheezing.

When driving a bus is making you winded... it may be time to rethink a few things in life.

But other than that, perfectly lovely gentleman :)

Ok, so see all the nails protruding from the bottom of the sign?
Yeah, that's to keep away the bears.

They apparently put up a sign and it was destroyed over night, so they made another one... same thing. And now they made a third with nails.

Dall Sheep!

We saw herds of these guys all over the mountain sides.

A wolf, just running down the road... right next to the bus.

Ok, another story.

So whenever you see wildlife from the bus you are supposed to yell "STOP" so that the driver can stop and everyone can freak out and take pictures.

 Well, some people couldn't tell the difference between hikers and wildlife so there were A LOT of random stops going on.

We also had an old guy who was "that guy" on the bus.
"So is that wolf/caribou/moose/grizzly bear/ (any animal we saw) a loner? Do they usually travel in packs? etc."
This guy was extremely focused on the whole loner/herd mentality of every single animal
we were laughing pretty hard because you always knew the question would come after every animal we encountered.

Thankfully the sun started to peek through a little bit (although it didn't last long)

Next up grizzlies, moose, and the battle to see Mt. McKinley!

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