t2.bmp (300054 bytes)  Denali

September 5-7, 2017

 

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Aren't these pictures absolutely gorgeous?  The scenery was just unbelievable!  We went on an 8 hour bus ride into Denali National Park where we saw beautiful mountains and much wildlife. The day was wonderfully clear.  Jeremy, our Princess tour host, told us that we were in the lucky 1% of visitors who get to see Mt. Denali (formerly known as Mt. McKinley) completely unveiled.  The mountain is so massive (over 20,300 feet tall) that it makes its own weather.  So we were indeed fortunate to see the whole thing.

 

 

 
 

Denali Bears

During our 8 hour bus ride, each of the 42 passengers played look-out.  If you saw an animal, you were supposed to yell "Stop!".  The bus would stop and we would be very quiet while everyone took pictures.  If an animal were in the middle of the road, we had to wait to drive on until after the animal exited the roadway.  The reason for this was that we didn't want to teach the bears to get used to humans or the human voice.  Our driver explained that the human voice is our only weapon against grizzlies in Denali.  If a bear approaches you, you are supposed to make yourself appear bigger than you are by raising your arms and yelling at the bear (such as "Hey Bear!") in an authoritative voice.  If bears get used to human voices, it will remove our most important defense against bear attack.  Also, you are not supposed to run.  Of course, people will joke and say they just have to run faster than their slower companions but our driver quickly corrected that theory.  If you run but your companions don't run, the bear will chase you and your companions will walk away unscathed.  (Note that we  don't plan to test that theory.  Seeing a bear from the safety of the bus was as close as we wanted to get.)

We saw 11 grizzly bears, which almost matched our driver's record of seeing 13 bears in a single day.  We spoke with another couple staying at the McKinley lodge and even though they toured the park the same day as we did, they didn't see any bears.  So were were very lucky. 

When we first entered the deeper section of the park, we encountered a mother grizzly and her two yearling cubs. One little fella kept laying down in front of the bus. We LOVED it!

 

Click on a picture for a clearer view of the bears!

 
 

 

 

The Willow Ptarmigan is the official state bird of Alaska

That white speck is a Dall Sheep.

A caribou spotted as we left Denali National Park

Jeremy (our guide from Princess) and Carol

Fireweed. The first thing that grows in Alaska after a forest fire.

 
 

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