Monday, July 18, 2011

Denali National Park Tour

We were up bright and early for our Denali park tour.  Nana and Cathy had done this tour before and had seen lots of animals in the park.    The weather is drizzly and pretty much made it messy outside.  We entered the park and a ranger came on the bus to tell us a little about the park.  Some of the road into the park is paved and some is gravel.  Once it turned into gravel, the sides and windows on the bus were muddy.  When we stopped at rest areas, the bus drivers would get out and wash down the windows.  Unfortunately it was not long before the mud was back.  It was a very messy job that day.

As we drove higher up, snow flurries began to fall.  It was a light snow, but hey any snow counts.  Yea snow!  You can only travel about halfway into the park on the tour.  At this point we had seen some elk and a few Dall sheep on the mountain sides.  I was really glad I brought the binoculars.  I would not have seen much without them since the animals were pretty far away.  On the way down we stopped for some hot chocolate or coffee.  The thermometer read 46 at that point and it had finally stopped drizzling.  It was too overcast to see Mt. McKinley or Denali as the natives call the mountain.  The tour guide said only about 30% of visitors get to see the mountain because of overcast conditions.   It reminded me of when we went up to see the Matterhorn.  It was overcast and the guide basically pointed to the fog and said "There is it."

On the way down we were finally able to see two Grizzly bears.  I was lucky enough to be on the right side of the bus and was able to get a good view of one of them.  He was digging a hole and it was fun to watch. Now for some professional quality bear video.  We all sound like a bunch of ninnies watching this bear.

We took the shuttle into town for dinner and tried one of the restaurants Brian suggested, Prospector's Pizza and Ale House.  It was the best food of the whole trip.  Absolutely wonderful.  On the way back to the hotel, we saw a mom moose and her two babies on the side of the road.  They were adorable and the perfect ending to this day.  We were able to see all of the animals I wanted to see and I was a happy girl.