Denali National Park
What distinguishes Denali National Park from any other National Park is that it is the first and only National Park that is solely dedicated to the preservation of wildlife. Other natioinal parks were created to preserve natural or environmental beauty. HOme to the tallest mountain in the United States, Denali is perhaps the only national park where you can’t drive through it in a car. There’s a single road that meanders some 80 miles into the heart of the park, but cars are only allowed to drive the first 13 miles. However, every year a lottery is held passes are given to 200 lucky adventurers who can then during a designated time can drivce their car the full length of the Denalit NP road.
So to get into the park you either must hike from the visitor’s center or purchase a pass for one of the many shuttle buses that take you as little or as far as you want to go. The bus will stop anywhere along the road and you’re able to hike and then catch another bus. for those looking ot camp, back country camping permits are available but be ready to be run through the mill on bear safety.
My shuttle bus left the visitor’s center at 6:30am would take a 8 hour round trip journey to Fish Creek. My still healing foot would prevent me from taking any long hikes. So for each stop of the bus, I’d be restricted to a short walk with my camera and cane.
The goal of most people coming to Denali is to see wildlife. Bears are typically high on the list. Then moose and all the rest is a bonus. Today we saw 11 bears, 3 wolves, a bunch of caribou, Dall sheep and a host of birds and small furry rodent type creatures that I won’t bore you with.
But perhaps the highlight was watching a northern harrier circle and prey on a small squirrel. The majestic move of the bird from descent ot ascent seemed like a perfect line of poetry to me and a reminder that the food chain is alive and in action here in Denali.
Leaving the park my goal was simply to get to Anchorage, find a hotel so that I could be the first traveler to be serviced by The Motorcycle Shop tomorrow morning.
I soon discovered that nearly every hotel or motel in Anchorage was booked and those available were exceedingly expensive. I settled into the Day’s Inn just a few miles from the BMW dealer.
(1) Grizzly bear grazing side of the road; (2) Another grizzly. Or is the same one?; (3) Bowing his head to satiate his appetite the mighty caribou’s antlers give a hint to its other name: reindeer.