Ten of us took the 66-mile (each way) 8-hour round-trip shuttle bus trip in Denali National Park today. We got very lucky with the weather. It wasn’t perfectly clear, but the clouds cleared enough that we got some great views of Mt. McKinley, and also saw quite a few wildlife. The bus driver called the day a “Grand Slam.”
Our first views of the mountain were discouraging. Early in the trip, I thought this might be the best view of the day.
The driver explained that the mountain creates its own weather. When temperatures warm up in the summer, some of the ice starts to melt and that creates steam that becomes clouds on top. To alleviate this situation, the temperature has to stay down and/or wind has to increase to blow the clouds away. Today we got wind! By the time we reached the Eielson Visitor Center, the mountain was out!
Although there were still clouds on the summits, this is one of the rare views of the entire mountain from the base up. What a thrill!
The visitor center is built in the side of a mountain, to make as little impact on the environment as possible.
A view from the bridge over a typical braided river with glacial runoff.
The road was a narrow ledge at times, cut into the side of steep mountainsides. I didn’t look down!
Here’s some of the wildlife we saw on the trip. A ground squirrel.
Caribou. We saw lots of them today.
Mama Grizzly Bear is on the left, with two almost full-grown cubs, busily eating berries.
It was a long ride, but definitely worth it, even if it were just to see the bears and the mountain!
Jim, Pat, Don and I went to the Courtyard Café at McKinley Chalet Resort for dinner. Don had roast chicken.
Pat and I dove into a pizza.
Jim enjoyed halibut and salad.
Fun times with good friends!