Alaska's Winter Horizon

Alaska's Winter Horizon

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Memorial Day weekend in Denali

We did manage to get a close-up look at a ptarmigan.

You can see that the bird is changing into its summer colors and some of its feathers are still white. We also spotted two porcupines

and managed to get some close pictures of one of these animals. It had started to get late so we headed back to the lodge for the night. Saturday morning we down into town for lunch and pick up a few shirts. We drove back into the park to catch the 1:00 bus for the Toklat River. This is as far as buses are presently going into the park. The stops farther into the park will open later in the season as the snows melt and clear the roadway. Interestingly enough, we didn't spot any wildlife until we saw a herd of caribou grazing near the Teklanika River basin.
This is quite out of the ordinary on the bus rides. You usually at least see several moose before reaching the Savage River.
We wondered if the late arrival of spring may have been a factor in the lack of animal sightings. No other animals were spotted until Polychrome Pass. Here, several dall sheep were foraging on the mountainside.

It had been a rainy and overall nasty day and by the time we reached Toklat River, the temperatures were quite cool. Our ride back was pretty uneventful.

We did spot several more sheep and caribou but the driver chose not to stop for them! Although people we talked to on other buses did see a sow bear and her two cubs, our bus didn't see any bears. This is the first time that has ever happened. Watch out in our next post, because we had a unique bear viewing the next morning.

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