07 June 2012

Beautiful Denali National Park

We took tons of pictures in Denali Natl. Park, but all of them on the real cameras. They will all be posted at the end of the trip!

Seventy percent of park visitors never get to see Denali. The tallest peak in North America is usually so socked in with clouds that it can't be viewed from the park. Well, we registered for our campsite at the entrance and about three miles into the park, the clouds parted and there it was--beautiful Mount Denali.

That was the start of three great days in the park. We camped at Savage River Campground and the first day hiked all around the eastern part of the park. We also went to the dog kennels to play with the dogs and watch the demonstration. Muddy is a beautiful dog from the River litter who is retiring. I love him. I could really go around this state and collect retiring mushing dogs!

We visited the 49th State Brewery on the way to the park and were told we had to go to the Denali Salmon Bake. So, in a raging downpour (cuz it's not a day of riding for us if it doesn't rain...) we rode out to the town for a late dinner. It was fantastic! If you visit the park, go have dinner there and have the Cedar Plank Salmon. Yum!

We took one of the shuttles into the park looking for wildlife and learning about the park. With few exceptions, individuals are not allowed to drive more than 15 miles into the park. One has to pay to take a shuttle which seems to be a little controversial among visitors. Quite honestly, after driving through other national parks, I am happy to sit back and let someone else do the driving, while I get to look around. But more than that, I am so happy to not drive behind a huge line of vehicles driven by tourists who stomp on the brakes in the middle of the road when they see a mule deer half a mile in the distance. It cuts way down on idiots on the road. I suppose it raises the number of idiots on the bus, but we had great people on our bus who were having a great time looking for critters.

We had the driver drop us off at another spot to hike and we spent the rest of the afternoon hiking out and finding a glacier we didn't know we would see and spying on arctic ground squirrels.

The park is not to be missed. It is gorgeous! The changing scenery, every time you come around a turn, something new comes into view. I could have stayed there for weeks, except by that time the mosquitoes would probably have been numerous to eat me alive. So, as all good things must, it came to an end. The next day as we drove out of the park we saw a big moose on the side of the road. We dropped a couple of postcards at the post office and were on our way to Talkeetna for three days!


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