We drove the hundred-some miles to Denali National Park yesterday. It was showery and cloudy, but the drive was lovely. We brought along a whole bunch of books on CD to listen to while driving, and this whole trip so far we’ve listened to about half an hour of one. The road itself provides a constant source of entertainment, looking for animals, reading the commentary from Milepost and enjoying the constantly changing scenery.
We pulled in to Denali Riverside RV, and it is truly on the river. The Nenana runs a hundred feet below our front window, and Gypsy has been very entertained by the gulls flying below her perch on the dash. We’ve waved at rafters floating below us, and watched the Alaska Railroad trains almost at eye level across the river. We laughed about the trains. It’s the first time on this trip we’ve felt like we were in an official RV park, because everyone knows RV parks and train tracks go together.
24th - We had tickets for the shuttle bus into the park. There’s only one road and no private cars allowed past the 15 mile mark, so you have to ride the bus in. Bob and Sharon chose an 8-hour round trip; Pam and Dave, Gerry and I opted for the 6-hour trip. When we woke up, it was raining, and through the clouds we could faintly see the tops of the mountains near us and they looked suspiciously white. Snow. On the 24th of June it snowed, and continued to shift between rain and snow all day. Our bus driver was informative and entertaining, but because of the mud that kept getting thrown up on the windows, we didn’t see a lot of wildlife – a moose, a caribou, and 5 bears was our animal count for the day. Two of the bears did provide a show for us. One was lying down in the middle of the road. Then he got up, staring off into the forest, and in a moment a smaller, female bear came out of the woods. They flirted around in front of the bus for a few minutes, and then she gave him a come-hither glance and they headed off into the woods for a more private place to play.
We all had a grand finale dinner at a local Salmon-bake place, since tomorrow we’re all going our separate ways. We’re moving into one of the campgrounds inside the park for one night and then going down the road about 30 miles to meet up with an outfit that does off-road tours and the others are headed for Anchorage today. It’s been fun traveling with them and hopefully we'll cross paths again on this trip, but they have schedules, poor things, and we don’t, so we’re dragging the Denali experience out while they have to cover ground.