On the Road Adventures
Sunday, June 28, 2009
June 26 and 27 - Monster Trucking
At 8 in the morning, Matt, of Denali Sightseeing Safaris, pulled up in a very prosaic van. We said hello, and he told us that the rest of the group that was supposed to go along today had backed out, so it was just the three of us. Great! A little way off the highway he came to the monster truck parking area, and we switched to one of those trucks with huge tires and a ladder to climb in, for a great aerial view of the road.
We bounced down a narrow dirt road that was the original track for the highway, first going through the thriving metropolis of Colorado, population 2, and right into the south end of Denali National Park. The locals still have the right to use and maintain it, so it’s a view of the park you don’t get on the green bus. We crawled through deep streams and up the banks, through the gravel riverbed, and up into the alder forest with branches swishing along the sides of the truck.
Eventually we got to the top of the Dunkel Hills where we had lunch and took in a great vista in every direction. Poor Matt, he was so frustrated that we weren’t seeing wildlife. We had gotten a look at a moose with a calf, and later a yearling moose, but while we saw all sorts of bear sign, we didn’t see a trace of an actual bear. We did see the tracks of a wolf which had chased a moose through a patch of mud, and talk about big feet on that puppy! Otherwise, we saw a mama green-winged teal with a dozen babies, and an assortment of small birds.
Despite the reclusive wildlife, the day was lovely, the views were great, and Matt was a font of information about the plants, animals, and geology of the area. This obviously is not just a job, it’s his passion. If you are ever planning on a trip to this part of the world, go check out their web site at http://www.denalisights.com/
Steve and Angel run a great operation, and it's a great way to get just close enough to the great outdoors!
June 26 - from Denali to the Igloo
At 4 this morning, Gerry got up and when he came back to bed, he put his icy feet on me and told me that I should go take a look at Denali, which we could sort of see through our front window. I got up and saw the mountain all pink and orange from the sunrise. Now a REAL photographer would have gotten dressed and driven down the road to the really good viewing spot, but hey, it was 4 am, so I snapped the picture through the window and went back to bed to put my icy feet on Gerry. When we really woke up, the mountain was hidden by clouds again.
We had a short drive down the highway to an abandoned motel shaped like a big, white igloo where we were to meet our guide tomorrow for an off-road tour. We just spent the night in the big gravel lot in front of the igloo. Gypsy was greatly entertained by the people who frequently stopped for a rest there. The mountain views were pretty spectacular for our entertainment