Day 30-32 – Denali, Alaska   Leave a comment

Our drive from Fairbanks to Denali included being in the middle of a “hand powered” cycle race. I included these photos for “T.”

We began our bus tour thru Denali National Park at 6 a.m. YES, I SAID 6 A.M.!!!

Two hours into our tour, we spotted our first grizzly!

The zoom on my camera wasn’t very good, so I took advantage of Guest Rod’s great shot of the bear.

We next spotted a mama grizzly and her two cubs. Mama is in the middle of the photo below, one of the cubs is to the right and the other is just above, barely visible because of the shrub. Of course, none of them are barely visible because of my zoom….

I got a kick out of our guests all trying to get photos

Even on our cloudy day, the view was AMAZING!!!!!!

The last big glacial advance plowed through this valley about 10,000 years ago. Denali’s wandering meltwater rivers, cloud with glacial silt and rock fragments, are evidence of ongoing glacial and mountain carving.

Pictured below is the tundra that was once had a glacier flowing through.

Pictured below is the famous spot for taking the “reflecting” photo of Delani/Mt. McKinley. There was even a photographer sitting there waiting for that perfect moment.

As luck would have it, it was too cloudy for us to witness. We later found out that this year hasn’t been a good year for viewing.

Stopping in Kantishna for lunch at the Backcountry Lodge

Another grizzly sighting.

As the day started to clear, we got some beautiful shots of the Alaska Mountain Range.

Before leaving the park, we got some photos of a huge moose, picture below IF you can see him (he’s smack in the middle of the photo)

Some of our group went white water rafting. There was a 2 hr. and a 4 hr. tour. Bill and I took the 4 hr. tour and chose to have “Captain Kevin” row us down instead of paddling ourselves. I’m glad we chose not to paddle. We were in the back of the boat and hardly got wet. Since it was about 53 degrees with little sun and the water was glacial water, which had only melted within 24 hours, it was nice not getting soaked, which is more than I can say for the poor people in the front of our boat!

This was the first time . we’ve ever been in glacial waters. It’s like a grey, cloudy color and is about 36 degrees. YIKES!

Below are some of the waters we navigated through.

Mt. McKinley, as I knew it as, has been renamed Denali. Mt. McKinley is the tallest mountain in North America reaching a little over 20,000 feet. Very few people are ever successful in climbing this mountain, but many try. The temperatures easily reach -40 degrees and at times -70. The winds are so strong, as the jet stream flows through, that hikers have been blown off the mountain. The captain of our rafting trip successfully climbed the Summit. It took him 26 days. Anyone can attempt to do the climb, but must not leave anything, and I mean ANYTHING, behind on the mountain. You also go up with a “team” and you must rely on your team for a safe return. The Park Service will tell you, do not rely on them for rescue.

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