Wednesday 30th July 2014
Our first hike in Denali was great. Quite a bit of sunshine although nippy. This is one BIG National Park, over half the size of Switzerland.
My legs are getting a workout.
This is our kind of crack climbing.
This grouse (I think) stood very still for this pic.
You can see just a bit of spider clinging to the back of a petal on this Potentilla flower.
Now it’s come to the front for the photo op. Good spider.
We had to leave the car by the visitors center at the beginning of the park and drive our camper in 29 miles to the campground. 14 miles was gravel and about a ton of that attached itself to the camper on the trek in. No personal vehicles are allowed after the 15 mile mark unless you are camping at one of the inner sites like us and then you can just drive it in and park till it’s time to leave. The park provides bus service into the interior. We would catch the bus and travel till we found a nice spot to get out and hike. Just get back to the road anywhere and wave a bus down for more transport.
Dean was practicing a caribou greeting.
The views (when we could see them) were wonderful. In the interior of the park there are are no real trails. We did quite a bit of bushwhacking through waist high shrubbery but when we got up to the higher elevations it was hiking in the alpine tundra. This was a first for us. The ground was mostly permafrost so we had a lot of spongy, lumpy wet brushy terrain. Sometimes it felt like we were doing knee lifts as our feet would sink into the soft stuff so far.
Yeah! We made it to the top of this mini mountain.
We managed to be in areas of NO visible wildlife most of the time. This red fox just popped up. Not a bear but cute anyway.
Dean put his iPhone on this mushroom to give a size comparison. I guess with all the rain and 20 hours of daylight the shrooms can ‘supersize’
Another day and back to the rainy cold. Dean was trying to snag the log so Rose would not get her delicate feet wet.
No luck on the log but we found a nice bridge a bit up stream.
Dean is going hardcore on crossing this snowmelt stream.
WHERE ARE THE BEARS? Still this Ptarmigan cooperated for a pic.
Finally the big stuff. We sat and watched this herd of caribou for quite a while.
A break in the the rain and we hiked up in the tundra. My tummy might be blubbery but my legs now have muscles on the muscles.
We saw many large patches of these bluebells.
Sorry America but THESE are bluebells. (I just had to include this pic from England where the ‘bluebell woods’ rock).
FINALLY A GRIZZLY BEAR! We had seen several when traveling on the park bus over the last week, but they would be far away on the hills.
We were on a hike in the back country and saw this guy just over the slope from us. We just plonked down and sat and watched for awhile. He looked at us and decided we were not very interesting and just went about his business.
Dean had the bear spray in hand just in case. Mr. Grizzly started to nibble his way up the hill toward us so we made a made a nice quiet exit. Thanks Grizz for a nice show.
Our week is up and we are heading back to Wasilla’s posh campground. Hookups, yippee. Have to clean off the extra ton of caked on mud/gravel and do all those basics such as washing, cleaning and stocking back up with adult beverages and grub.