Monday, June 22, 2015

A Denali Adventure

We decided to take an early morning tour at Denali National Park. Last time we were here we took a shuttle with a driver that didn't give any information on the area. It didn't help that we had a crying baby for the first few hours of the trip. Plus we didn't see any wildlife at all though it was pretty scenery. The tour was a much better way to go and our driver/tour guide, Peter, was very interesting. He gave all the usual info on Denali history plus some personal info as well as he has lived in the area for a number of years.

Of course, it centers around Denali, the highest mountain in
North America.
The name of Mount McKinley National Park was subject to local criticism from the beginning of the park. The word "Denali" means "the high one" in the native Athabaskan language and refers to the mountain itself. The mountain was named after newly elected US president William McKinley in 1897 by local prospector William A. Dickey. The United States government formally adopted the name Mount McKinley after President Wilson signed the bill creating Mount McKinley National Park into effect in 1917 [7] In 1980, Mount McKinley National Park was combined with Denali National Monument, and the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act named the combined unit the Denali National Park and Preserve. At that time the Alaska state Board of Geographic Names changed the name of the mountain to "Denali." However, the U.S. Board of Geographic Names does not recognize the change and continues to denote the official name as Mount McKinley.[citation needed] Alaskans tend to use "Denali" and rely on context to distinguish between the park and the mountain.  Wikipedia

The Park is over 6 million acres. There is a 91 mile long road through the Park. You can only drive your car through the first 15 miles. You need to take a tour or shuttle bus to go farther. The tour guides all say you will most likely see wildlife and we have read blogs or talked to people who saw 4 or more times of animals on the tours. We haven't been so lucky. As I said before we saw none last time. this time we saw the Caribou. However, the only reason we saw them was that some people had eagle eyes and good binoculars and were able to see them though they were quite far away. I was able to get some pictures with the long lens.

There are a number of rivers through the park and lots of wild flowers.We stopped at Kodochrome Pass and walked around for awhile.

Nice of this Ground Squirrel to Pose for us

It was another rainy day. Wouldn't you know it, about an hour after we were done with the tour, the sun came out and we had nice warm weather for the evening. We did enjoy the trip and though Peter, our guide, was excellent. He even told a story about when Sean Penn came up to the area and came into Healy, a small town near Denali,to research the area for the movie Into the Wild, about Chris Candless, a young man who was traveling the country after graduating from college. He decided to live int the wilderness of Alaska and met a tragic end. Anyway, Sean came into the bar and was asking Peter and his girlfriend about the area. Soon word got around and soon the whole town was there and everyone partied with Sean and his team. At the end of the night, Sean wrote down Peter and his girl friends full names in a book he was writing in. They thought for sure they would be in the credits of the movie. They were excited when the movie came out and watched all the credits.Then right at the very end of the credits, there it was. We thank the citizens of the town of Healy, for all their help. Dang, Peter said. That is the last time I buy Sean Penn a beer. It was a cute story.
We also drove the 15 miles into the park a couple of times and saw a little more wildlife.

 Our next stop is Talkeetna and then on to the Anchorage area where we want to find a spot for the July 4th weekend.

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