Mountains Hide Away

Alaska - Denali Day 1

Tuesday, July 16, 2019 5:54 PM

Hi all, I hope you and those close to your are well and life is good. I am fine. I have had what turned out to be a very long day. A good long day. The day started as normal. I got up, cleaned up and had breakfast all the while trying to do for the day. Do I take a bus into the park and if so, at what time. Since I couldn’t make up my mind between two choices, I did some washing to give me more time to decide. I knew what one I wanted to try for but felt the bus would be full which I don’t like because there is no chance to be able to move to the side animals might be on. After I had clothes washed and put away I still couldn’t decide which time to go. I found myself thinking of the pros and cons to each. I decided okay, more chores could be done, I unloaded the back of the truck to get at my generator. I wanted to let it run for a few to make sure it was operating correctly. It is getting closer to when I will be depending on it for 5 nights, while camping at Teklinaka Campground. The generator started right up and ran just fine. I let it run while I went through my storage boxes and condensed things since things are getting used up. I loaded the truck back up and I have a lot of unused space, which is nice. After I had the generator put away. I ended up calling the reservation line and found out only 4 out 30 tickets had be purchased for the time I wanted to go. We received the announcements 15 minute boarding call, 10 minute boarding call and then nothing. I checked the time as I used the bathroom one more time and it was 15 minutes past the time we were due to leave. I heard fro the others scheduled to go that there was bus issues. It was half past the hour when the buss arrived. It wasn’t a normal, green shuttle bus. It was a tour bus. Having never been a tour bus, it was nice to see what the tour bus is like. The bus driver recognized me right off. I couldn’t tell as there was too much glare from the windows. We left the Wilderness Access Center, now called Denali Bus Depot. I hate the name change. It is to help foreigners to understand where to pick up the bus. It is still the WAC to me. I was happy to hear since we were leaving late we would return later. As proceeded into the park the skies brightened. It was shaping up to be a good evening. I was happy smoke from forest fires didn’t limit our visibility. The first animal we would see would be a caribou walking up the road towards us. It walked right past us. Nice way to start the day. We would then see a bull moose. It was surprisingly very close to the road and allowed for some close ups. We would then see a sow grizzly and two cubs. We had already seen 2 of the 4 big animals of the park. The only one missing was Dall Sheep. I hoped to have a chance to see dall sheep at our second rest stop. I wasn’t disappointed and we saw 2 groups of two and one group of 4. Since we left so late we were seeing returning buses sooner than normal and it wouldn’t be much longer the 9 of us on this bus would be the only ones this deep into the park. When we arrived at Eielson visitor center, I have never seen it so deserted. Since we left late we missed the visitor center being opened so not even rangers were present. Pretty darn cool to be able to experience this place with no one around. The whole time on the bus ride I had that familiar feeling come back. That feeling of a pure naturally peaceful easy feeling, calm and relaxed like I always do being at Denali. The ride back to the park entrance was just as much fun. We would see a large group of caribou, the bus driver called a nursery group because they were females and young caribou. We marveled at how there were so many and why didn’t we see them when we came through earlier. Anyway it was neat to see so many rather than one here one there. We would come up on the bull moose in the same spot as before. As we tried to get closer, the moose crossed the road and we were blocked by willow bushes. We would see two more grizzlies. Then as we were getting close to the park entrance we saw a lynx cross the road in front of us moving from our left to our right. There was no time to get a picture, it happened so fast. But we all saw it, no doubt. KEWL!!!! We were back on paved road making our way to the WAC and our cars when we saw another bull moose even larger than the one we saw before. The 8 hour bus ride exceeded my expectations yet again. I am so happy and thankful for this. I needed it after the disappointments in Homer not being able to get back to Brooks. And the disappointment in Seward not being able to be on the water the 3 days. I am excited and looking forward to going  out again tomorrow, it will depend on how full the bus is, but we will see. In all, today 7 grizzly bears were seen, several caribou, 2 golden eagles, 8 Dall Sheep and two bull moose. That is it for today and all in all is was a fun day. Take care.