Denali National Park and Preserve

Trip Start Jun 25, 2009
Trip End Sep 10, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Alaska
Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sunday, August 2 - Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska - Day 2 of 3

Some of our group awoke early this morning to go white water rafting and some were scheduled for a bus tour of Denali National Park.  Our bus tour is not until tomorrow, and we are happy we didn't sign up to go rafting since the temperature is only 38 degrees.

After a leisurely wake-up, we headed to tourist trap haven.  Denali has one section (before the Park Road) that is lined with lodges and gift shops on both sides of the street.  We visited almost all of the gift shops.  Some had beautiful items, while others had the usual Alaska junk like shot glasses and artificial moose poop.

We had to be ready to carpool into town at 4:45 to go to the Alaska Cabin Night Dinner Theater. We enjoyed a spirited show in an authentic, log-paneled roadhouse at Denali Park Resorts' McKinley Chalet Resort. The performers served up family-style platters of salmon and BBQ ribs before they presented an historical musical based on the life of Fannie Quigley, an adventuresome woman who left Wahoo, Nebraska to find fame and fortune in Alaska. The show was a lot of fun and the performers were talented.

After the dinner and show, since it was a clear night, we took a ride through the park, again hoping to see Mt. McKinley, and we did!  It is the highest peak in North America at 20,320 feet.  The part that we could see was completely white and we now understand why it is so hard to see if it is cloudy or foggy.

We saw some cars stopped along the road and figured that their occupants had spotted wildlife, so we stopped, too.  We saw the largest caribou I have ever seen a little ways off the road.  Art grabbed his binoculars and I grabbed my video camera and we hiked across some rocks to try to get a better view.  We were able to approach the animal to about 25 feet.  It was magnificent! 

Further down the road, we got to view three moose.  We are so happy we took the ride. 

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