Thursday, September 25, 2008

Denali National Park

Just because I'm sitting in a cubicle all day doesn't mean you can't enjoy the sites that Alaska has to offer. I'd like to share some pics of a summer trip to Denali National Park. We stayed at Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge, and it was fantastic. This was the view of Denali from the deck. The Lodge is close to Talkeetna, and nestled deep in a forest. If you want to feel like you've escaped into the wilderness (and yet want to live in comlete luxury), than this is the place for you. The employees were very friendly and helpful, the landscaping was beautiful, and the food was great. I would definately stay here again. The only down side was that you are still around an hour or so drive from the gate to Denali National Park. The Denali Princess Lodge is right near the gate, so if you want something closer, then that is something to consider. We woke up early and headed to explore the park. You can only drive into the park in your private vehicle once a year, and those people are chosen by the lottery system. We booked the Tundra Wilderness Tour bus package, and it was definately worth the extra expense. They take you on a fantastic tour through the park, while the bus driver shares interesting information about the area and answers all of your questions. He stopped each time there was an animal anywhere near, and let us take as many pictures as we wanted. Above and below are pictures of Kodachrome Basin and Kodachrome Pass. Pictures can't reproduce the amazing colors in this area.
Here is the star of the park...Mt. McKinley (Denali). We were very lucky, because tons of people travel here and never get a glimpse of the mountain. It is so tall that it creates it's own weather, and is often hidden in cloud cover.

We were also lucky in that we got to see what they refer to as the "Big Five" of the park. They are the most popular 5 animals in the park: moose, caribou, dall sheep, wolf, grizzley bear. We saw all of them and so much more. We saw several grizzley at the park. They are "blond" in this area, and look so much different from our darker brown bear near Anchorage. This one was digging and foraging near a little stream.
This little fox just sat there on the side of the road and patiently let us take his picture.
This wolf was creeping through the underbrush near the road. He only came out in the open for a minute and then he disappeared again. His eyes were were the most stunning shade of gold.
These two babies were with their Mom near where we got off of the bus. They were so cute, but Mom was there keeping a close eye on us.

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