The rain stopped! It was overcast, and a bit drizzly, but overall our day in Denali National Park was the driest we'd had so far in Alaska. Our 8-hour tour departed at 1:55 pm, so we spent the morning exploring the area,

including the small commercial area outside the park (touristy, but what else would you expect?), park headquarters and museum, and the first mile or so inside the park, which is about as far as private cars can drive.

We had high hopes for the tour, animal viewing-wise, when we spotted this gal on our pre-tour drive.

And animal spotting on the tour was great. We saw a juvenile grizzly romping from berry patch to berry patch high up on a hill;

a mama grizzly with her 2 cubs less than 50 yards from our bus;

Dall sheep that were too far away for my camera to pick up, but the bus driver's camera got them just fine on the ceiling-mounted TV monitors.

We saw moose,

and moose (this cow walked across a field toward us, then crossed the road right in front of the bus)

and more moose, along with caribou and magpies that were too far away to photograph.

We saw mountains,

and streams,

and more mountains,

but only about a third of the main attraction, since Mt. McKinley clung stubbornly to its cloud cover the entire day.

Hubby tried lifting a shed moose antler - it's a lot heavier than it looks -

and we laughed at the nail-studded sign that the bears haven't eaten. Yet.

Our bus driver/guide was great, with lots of stories about Denali and living in Alaska, but 8 hours is a looooong time to spend cooped up on a bus, even with potty breaks every 90 minutes or so. Just seeing the mama bear with her cubs made it worthwhile though. And everything else? Bonus!



Vickie said...

Definitely sounds as though you are hitting all our favorite stops. So glad Denali "showed off" for you! R loved the car museum also; last year was the first time we had seen that one. Hope McKinley shows up on your drive back; it is amazing.