Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tundra of Denali National Park

I went to Denali National Park to write a story for the ADN's Alaska Visitor's Guide last week. It was the very tail end of the tourist season and the fall landscapes were breathtaking. Above is my first peek at the mountain since living here. This is probably about 80 miles from the peak.

Quite the adorable tourist trap of a town at the park entrance.

The lobby of McKinley Chalet Resort.

We boarded a bus around 6:30 a.m. to ride into the park. Only buses and service vehicles are allowed to pass the 15 mile marker on the solitary park road for most of the year. One weekend a year winners of a road lottery are allowed to drive the length of the park road in their own vehicles. We spent about 9.5 hours on the Turndra Wilderness Tour bus and traveled for hours into the national wildlife preserve. We saw grizzly bears, moose and dall sheep. And the occasional squirrel and magpie. 

The Teklanika River.

 Passengers lean to the side of the bus to get pictures, video and a good view from binoculars at a grizzly.
The grizzly walked right up to the road and crossed the street in front of our bus.

 Off he goes.
 View of the valley.
 Nap time.
A bus travels east on the park road back to the park entrance. Denali hovers in the distance.

I have an amazing job.

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