June 23, 2016
Today, instead of writing about my eight hour bus tour through Denali National Park, I listed interesting information and facts that our bus driver Bear told us.
Bear: we are pretty sure he got his name because he fought a bear and won, but we don’t know for sure
Denali Wildlife Sightings: moose, seagulls, hare, doll sheep (from really far away on a mountain), ptarmigan (Alaska state bird), caribou, more birds (there was this really annoying group of people on the back of our bus that liked to yell for Bear to stop every time he saw a soaring bird- every. time.)
Time of Departure: 7:00 AM
Park is six million acres.
We were park of the 33% club- the 33% of people that were actually able to see Mt. McKinley (Denali) because normally it was too cloudy.
Mt. McKinley has been reported by pilots from over four hundred miles away.
Teklanika Campground- last ground site that you can drive to in the park with a minimum three night stay.
Stop #1L Teklanika (8:20 AM)
Igloo Forest- spruce trees
Sub-arctic climate- can snow at any time.
Igloo Canyon Campsite elevation- 2940
2006: Found evidence of dinosaurs and some areas have so many dinosaur tracks they are called “dance floors.”
Sable Mountain has no off-road hiking because of wild-life protection.
Stop #2: Toklat (10:02 AM)
There are twenty-five species of mosquitos in Alaska, but only one amphibian- the tree frog- and no snakes other than people who have pets.
After our bus tour we went back to the campsite and began making camp-site enchiladas that were absolutely delicious. The night consisted of lots of different games- Mafia, BS, slaps, spoons, and others. The night was eventful because Morgan, Leah, Breezy, and I had to move camp and re-setup our tent. Once the boys finally left us alone and our tent was moved, we quickly fell asleep.
June 24, 2016
This morning Kristen started shaking our tent telling us not to leave because there was a giant moose and we would probably die. I wanted to look out of the tent window, but Breezy was still asleep and see was on the window side. It was okay though because the moose was still sleeping behind the bathroom. Right before we left the camp the moose and one of its babies crossed the road and we got some great photos!
We did a mix of busing and walking to reach where we would see a dog sledding demonstration. Even though I openly admit I am not a dog (or animal) person, the Alaskan Huskies were pretty adorable and the lighting at the sight was also pretty great for pictures. The most interesting fact about the sled dogs was that each litter had a theme for their names. For example, the volcanic litter had names like Lava and Ash. The demonstration itself was cool because we could learn how during the winter the dogs really served as “warriors to wilderness” and helped things run smoothly at Denali- the only park in the system that used sled dogs. We also learned the difference between the Denali dogs that were bred for strength and the Iditarod dogs that were bred for speed.
We then quickly stopped at the camp-site’s convenience store for snacks before we embarked on a bus-ride essentially to the middle of nowhere. The bus-ride included a couple food, photo, and bathroom stops where we received our first “potty bags,” a part of the “leave no trace” mentality. The highlight of the bus ride was our dance party when “DJ Logan” played middle-school hits like “Tik Tok” and “Dynamite”- songs that sent me right back to awkward, sweaty, Lawrence Middle School dances.