Denali National Park


Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 25-08-2009

Our arrival in Denali marked a huge milestone in our RV adventure.    We have been reading about Denali and anticipating it since we first thought of making this RV trip.  It was really a dream come true for all of us.  The name Denali comes from the Athabascan (the native people of the region)  word for “High One”.  We arrived on a rainy gray day and set up camp inside the park at Reilly Creek.  It was dry camping but we were rewarded with plenty of space around us.  We were walking distance to the Merchantile building which had a small array of food, gifts, laundry and wi-fi.  We set up our four hour (one way) bus trip to Mt. McKinley for the following day as the forecast called for sun.  We were keeping our fingers crossed as the mountain is only visible 20% of the time. 

We awoke the next morning to beautiful blue skies and a whopping 45 degrees.  We met at the “Wilderness Access Center” and loaded the bus at 9AM en route for the EielsonVisitor’s Center and Mt. McKinley.  In 1972, the National Park System put in the bus system to  protect visitors and reduce threats to wildlife while maximizing opportunities to view wildlife.  Along the way, we saw a mother grizzly bear and her two cubs, a small herd of caribou and a large herd of Dall Sheep up high on a mountain ridge.  We reached Mt McKinley at about 1PM.  It was nothing short of spectacular.  The ranger said it was the clearest day since April!  What luck!  We had a little picnic inside the visitor center (situated on a mountain ridge with amazing views of the mountain) and took turns taking pictures with antlers on our head!

Mount McKinley has been called the Alaskan landscape’s most impressive feature.  Mt. McKinley is the highest mountain in North America.  The summit is 20,320′ and its vertical relief is greater than that of Mt. Everest.  Temperatures at the summit can plummet to below -95 degrees in winter!  Denali has been designated an International Biosphere Reserve significant for research into the subarctic ecosystems. 

The next day was also bright and sunny and we took a family bike ride through the park.  On our way home, a huge MOOSE jumped right in front of Ken along the bike path.  Ken was obviously startled and Nikki screamed (something we were told to do) and the moose took off back into the bushes.  A bit too close for comfort as moose can charge a person and be very harmful!   That evening we enjoyed a warm campfire and just recounted our stories of Denali so far! 

Sunday was Ken’s birthday and we spent the day rainy day fulfilling all his food requests!  That night, Ken and I had a special dinner at a lodge up high on a hill overlooking Denali.  We were the youngest people at the lodge as it’s part of a stop for the tours in the area.  The tour is part of a package which also includes cruises throughout Alaska. 

We were sad to leave this beautiful place in the world and will forever remember its peace and beauty.

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