01 August (Denali National Park, AK)

01 August – Today was a true adventure. We took the 8-hour Denali Tundra Wilderness bus tour 60 miles into Denali National Park driving over 4,000 ft. passes among 6,000 ft. peaks. Our driver took us winding up and up through the mountains on a one-way gravel (mud, because it was raining) road, except for stopping at points where the buses had to pass each other. He drove us as close as we could get to Mt. McKinley, which is 20,360 feet high. Of course, because it was cloudy, we knew that we wouldn’t be able to see any part of it. We feel so blessed that the day we came into the Cantwell Campground the weather was so beautiful and we were able to get good pictures of it. We have a certificate that says we are of the 30% of visitors who actually get to see Mt. McKinley. Our bus became very muddy and the driver would try to clean off our windows every stop we made. Bless his heart! It was a losing battle.
It was a little unnerving for some of us being on the side of the bus which overlooked the sheer drop-off over the mountain, and of course, there were no guardrails. The view was spectacular! This was a tour aimed mainly at spotting wildlife, and we weren’t disappointed. First, we came upon this cute little grizzly bear (we saw 4) who was oblivious that we were there, just lumbered behind our bus and went on his merry way. Next, we saw caribou herds and 2 far away dall sheep (that our driver had to point out to us). Those creatures sure love to get up high! We commented to each other that we just can’t drive down the road without being on the lookout for that wildlife sighting. (Maybe this will be helpful when we return to driving our home highways in KY and AL.) 🙂
So, after returning from the tour, we decide to eat dinner (yes, we’ve found ourselves eating dinner at 9:00 or 10:00 pm and it’s still daylight–that would be midnight Dunham time, 1:00 am Berry time). We are going to be so messed up when we return home. We ate at the Salmon Bake Restaurant on the mountain side across from the lodge, which was a true dining experience. Either it was built that way on purpose, or as the waiter tried to convince us, the building was shifting off the mountain side into the road. It was so hard to walk into and our table was tilted downhill, as was the whole floor. We laughed all through our meal (delicious seafood chowder in a bread bowl and Yak A-dilla). Coming out of the restaurant, we could see our breath. Yep, it’s cold outside, folks!


2 thoughts on “01 August (Denali National Park, AK)

  1. What a great trip! Beautiful pics, so happy that you all are having such a great
    time. life is good, God is good!
    Love seeing all the animals.


  2. Amazing pictures and words Laura. I am so happy for you and Ron to have this wonderful trip. Hope Rick and I get the opportunity someday.


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