After taking the train to Ancharage and renting a car there we drove through the night (though it never really gets dark in Alaska at this time of year) to Denali National Park, arriving early in the morning. Arriving too early to book a campsite we hiked the area of the visitor's center, the Taiga Trail, the Meadow View Trail and the Horseshoe Lake Trail. We saw Moose and a Lynx and several orchid species, as well as numerous wildflowers and some beautiful scenery. Finished hiking we took the camper's bus to our campsite near the Sanctuary River. The road into Denali is open to vehicles for only twelve miles, beyond which only buses are available. After setting up camp, going out to photograph a bull Caribou near the camp, and having our evening meal we caught a bus to Toklat, another sixty miles down the road. The bus ride was wonderful. We saw Caribou, Dall Sheep, Moose, a Red Fox and spectacular scenery.
Spruce Forest Trail
Blunt-leaved Rein Orchis
view from Meadowview trail
Cow Moose at Horseshoe Lake
Dwarf Fireweed along the Nenana River
old mining equipment?
Beaver gnawed trees
dioramas at the visitor's center
Bull Caribou near Sanctuary River campground
Common Ringlet on Eskimo Potato
The next day we caught the bus again, this time to Wonder Lake, ninety-two miles from the entrance and near the end of the road. Again, we saw a lot of wildlife, did some hiking in the area of Wonder Lake, and enjoyed the scenery at the various stops along the way. Polychrome Pass and Toklat were especially beautiful. Our two disappointments in Denali, however, were that we saw no bears and that we never saw Mount McKinley. The weather was mostly cloudy and there were wildfires burning in the park and the combination of the two completely obscured the mountain. We spent three night and the better part of three days in the park and would love to go back again and spend even more time there. If we went back, however, I think we would go a little earlier in the year, probably toward the end of May. Denali is an amazing place, but very busy during the summer.
Polychrome Pass and overlook
between Toklat and Eilson
Arctic Ground Squirrel at Eilson
park bus at Eilson
Alaska Cotton Grass
ponds near Wonder Lake