June 19 – Denali – Day 2

Big day! Up early (3am local time) for work and getting ready. We were late getting out the door to catch our first shuttle bus, but the main tour bus station was just a quick 5 minute walk. We pulled all our food together, locked up the dog and went on our way.

A quick side note – we did NOT leave Iggy alone for 11+ hours while we were out having fun. We used Rover and were lucky enough to find a person in the area that came to the RV – in the camp ground – every 3 hours to check in and walk him for a half hour each time. If we hadn’t found someone, we would have made different tour plans. We were so lucky to have found her and Iggy did great while we were gone! Yes – we still worried about him all day – especially since there is no cell service in the park after leaving the campground – but he was all wags when we got back.

With Jane’s book in hand, we hustled to the bus station to catch our 6:45am bus that would take us and 40 other people into the heart of Denali. We got on and were introduced to Wendy, our driver. Wendy was great! So much information and an awesome animal spotter! This woman could spot a pika at the side of the road! She has been driving the busses at Denali for 16 years, and in the winters, she is a school bus driver for the schools in Anchorage. This woman can drive!

We entered the park, the landscape started to change and we saw our first round of animals. Moose, dall sheep and a raven.

Polychrome Overlook – Mile 47

After we left Polychrome, we had our first glimpse of the big mountain – Denali!

See that cloud? Look behind it and you will see the mountain! No… really… it’s there…

Toklat River Contact Station – Mile 53

After we left Toklat River Contact Station, Denali teased us a little more. First with just the base, and then part of the peak. By the end of this trip, we may be able to piece a whole mountain together!

Stony Hill Scenic Overlook – Mile 62 – The clouds cleared, and out she came: Denali!

As quickly as she appeared, the clouds came in and obsucred her again. Sneaky girl! So we moved on and saw some bears and moose!

Eielson Visitor Center – Mile 66 – visited by a little ground squirrel and we ate lunch.

Compare the “day length” from today to 6 months from now.

Wonder Lake – Mile 85

And from there – we headed back. More views and animals – fox, bear, pika, sheep and caribou (not all photographed, but seen!) We also met some people and had some great conversation!

Such an awesome day! The drive to Wonder Lake was filled with excitement and lots of information from Wendy. The ride back was filled with conversation and new acquantences! Nice to meet you all!!

We made it back home and found Iggy safe and sound. We went for a DRY walk, back home and colapsed into bed.

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