Denali National Park

Trip Start Jun 13, 2006
Trip End Jun 12, 2007

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Flag of United States  , Alaska
Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Dean: Tuesday - 1 week in, it seems so much longer :-)
We travelled up to Denali National Park from Talkeetna on the Alaskan Railway. The train runs all the way from Steward to Fairbanks, but the Talkeetna-Denali stretch is meant to be one of the best sections. The train is a locomotive but only goes at around 30 mph, so you get to see all of the passing wildlife and views. Unfortunately, the train is so loud that the animals can hear it miles away and keep their distance!!! The trip was 4 hours long and took us another 120 miles north. It was a really good trip, much better than being on a coach on the roads. Still not seen a moose up close, but we have now seen a few from a distance.
At Denali we stay in a wooden hut at the Denali Samon Bake (a really famous eating place). They have these huts/tents which are really nice but it does feel like we are sleeping in the garden shed! We ate at the Samon Bake and shared a pitcher of local beer - life is good...

Dean: Wednesday - Up early and over to the park entrance for 7:30am. We are booked on one of the longer tour buses into the park (cars are not allowed into any of the interior parts of the 6 million acre park). We head out to 'Fish Creek' - 64 miles into the park and one stop short of the furthest point you can travel to by road (Wonder lake). Amazing views - mountains, tundra, wilderness. We got to see lots of wildlife - ground squirrels, hares, birds (including the state bird, the Ptarmigan (tar-mi-gan)), Dall sheep, moose (again, from a distance), grizzly bears...
... this one bear came right onto the road and walked down the side of the bus. It was amazing - a really big bear! They are so big!!! Behind us on the road was a guy on a mountain bike. The bear headed straight for him (I bet he thought his days were numbered!). Any way, one of the vehicles came up behind the bear and spooked him, so he would bolt, which he did, off the road and into the tundra - much to the relieve of the biker! We also saw a wolf, 3 Caribou, and then on the way back we saw another grizzly bear with its cub. It was just off the road and we got some great pictures.
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