Denali – The High One

Wed, Jun 28, 2017

If you want to go into Denali National Park, you’ll do it on a bus.  And it actually works pretty well.

I left this morning on the 0645 bus.  The driver explained that his job was to keep the bus on the road and our job was to spot wildlife.  Whenever we saw something, we’d shout it out.  As in “bears at 2 o’clock”!  And the driver would stop and we either shot out the window or we all got out to take our photos.

I was a bit disappointed by the lack of wildlife but it was a sunny day.  And that means that the animals tend to stay in the woods were it’s shady.  So if you want too see the animals, then come on a rainy day.  But then no Denali for you!

Up first is a brown bear and her two cubs.  Nothing like my Katmai trip where the bears were right there.  But still pretty good.

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We also saw a lot of caribou.  Here they are on the hillside in front of Denali.

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And two bucks relaxing in the snow.

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And here are a pair of Willow Ptarmigan, the Alaska state bird. The guy on the left is giving me a close look.  And why not? They’ve just raised chicks that are running around in the grass trying to hide.

Polychrome Overlook is one of the most photographed areas and you’ll usually see a wide angle.  In this one, I’ve shot with my 200 mm lens so definitely a different perspective.

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We had glimpses of Denali on the way in but didn’t get a good view until the Stony Hill Overlook.  Here she is and the clouds were much lighter than I expected when I got up this morning.

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And finally, my turnaround at mile 66 of the Park Road, an eight hour round trip.  It’s the Eielson Vistor Center and has a great viewpoint.  Too bad the clouds make the wimpy hill on the left look greater than Denali (unless you look at the peak just above the clouds).  Oh well, I could crop but it’d just look like the photo above.  Sigh…

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One last photo taken at the Toklat Rest Area.  One thing that struck me about the park was how colorful it was.  This view to the north had tons of red and green.

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