Alaska's Winter Horizon

Alaska's Winter Horizon

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Denali Trip, Day 2, Part 1

Remember to click on the pictures to make them larger.

After breakfast we hit the road for the final 100 miles to Denali National Park. As we checked out, a covered wagon arrived to take some visitors on an excursion. They would enjoy a covered wagon ride along in the mountains and stop to eat a camp-fire lunch. Mt. McKinley was still too cloudy to see this morning as we left the lodge. Today's part of the drive had beautiful scenery for most all of the way. We stopped often along the road to take pictures of the amazing mountains and to enjoy all the sights around us. At one place we had to pull over and snap a photo of the large igloo, a former gas station, which was now boarded up and for sale. It was actually still quite striking sitting there near the mountains. I'm sure many years ago it was the curious stop on the way to the park. Even now, it is probably striking during the winter when everything is white. We drove on and stopped to look at the Nenana River near Cantwell, Alaska. The water was gray with glacial silt. Glaciers had ground the rocks down to a fine powder that was carried along in the water. These aren't good fishing rivers because the fish aren't able to survive in the water full of the sand and debris. The waters are super cold as I found out when testing it!

We drove on to the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge to check in for our next 2 nights' accommodations. We decided to go check out the National Park. Almost immediately upon entering the park, we saw bear warning signs. The signs alerted you that moose were calving and bear were hunting in this area. We then drove on to the Wilderness Access Center and picked up our tickets for this afternoon's 6 hour Toklat bus ride. Tickets in hand, we headed to the Visitor's Center to check it out. This is a nice center with lots of pictures, animal exhibits, area artifacts, and a theater. After examining the center, it was time to head back to the Wilderness Access and catch our shuttle.

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