Alaska's Winter Horizon

Alaska's Winter Horizon

Monday, June 7, 2010

Denali Trip, Day 3, Part 1

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Slept in and missed the breakfast buffet much to Greg's heatbreak. We went across the street to a few tourist stores and got some souvenirs. Enjoyed a lunch of yummy halibut tacos. Then we set off for the park, about a mile down the road. After stopping to check and see if there was a ranger-led hike, we were told that those hikes hadn't started yet. We then decided to drive the allowable first 15 miles into the park and find our own place to hike. Since it is a wilderness area, there are very few actual hiking trails in Denali. You have 6 million acres to make your own trail. It was a bit cloudy and overcast and we actually passed through a short rainshower. The skies were a beautiful color and we even saw a rainbow that made its appearance across the valley. We pulled in to one of the overlooks and tried to get some pics of one of the millions of lakes in Alaska. As the brush was shoulder high, it didn't seem the smartest thing to walk down to the lake. We drove on down toward the Savage River. We spotted many snowshoes hares with their spring colors beginning to show, but their feet still in the winter white colors. They seemed to quite plentiful here. So many animals, such as the fox we saw yesterday, can count on plenty of food for themselves and their young this summer. We also saw several ptarmigan, also known as the snow chicken, near the creeks. This bird is also a staple food for many animals including humans. As you can tell from the pictures, the ptarmigan is also getting her summer coat of darker colors. During the winter, this bird is completely white. We made it to the Savage River parking area which is as far as you can drive in a private vehicle in Denali. It is also the trailhead for the Savage River Loop Trail which we decided we enjoy this afternoon.

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