Update: 9/28/98 (Added 2 Dogsled pictures)
Update: 10/18/98 (Added Denali Pictures)
After the flight, everyone got up and headed out for Denali National Park. Denali is about a 4-5 hour drive from Anchorage, and many stops along the way are normal, so lots of food was packed.
Upon arrival at the campsite, our intrepid Northern Travelers settled in and enjoyed a little light hiking and lots of card games, including a rather confusing bout with "Phase 10", which is a game that certainly takes a little getting used to!
The trip continued the following morning...
On the drive up to Denali State Parrk, there are several great viewpoints where Denali can be seen. Despite the fact that Denali itself was in cloud, there were some great viewpoints...
A couple of shots of the intrepid Tour Guides (and the Transportation)...
Reservations had been made previously for the Denali Bus Tour, which is the only way to travel deep into the park. A bus takes people to either the Eielson Visitor's Center (about 8 hours round-trip) or Wonder Lake (12 hours round-trip). Unfortunately, the bus trip was almost cut short due to SNOW. It had snowed up in the mountains and the driver almost had to turn back. Fortunately, the ice on the roads cleared up in time for us to drive to Eielson, although we were somewhat delayed. Here is a picture of the roof of one of the Visitor's Centers we stopped at on the way to Eielson.
Of course, there were LOTS of things to look at (and take pictures of) on the way to and from Eielson. These pictures do not even begin to describe how beautiful and varied the terrain was along the drive.
In addition to the scenery, there was also some wildlife to be seen (and pictured). Unfortunately, the only moose seen during the bus trip was out in the woods (one antler and part of the nose were all that was visible), but a Marmot, a couple of Caribou, and a couple of bears made an appearance.
Other wildlife seen on the trip included Doug, Michelle, and a precariously held Donovan,
and Don and Julie.
Of course, this compliation would not be complete without a few pictures of Denali itself. The weather was fairly accommodating, and a few good pictures of Denali were available. However, there was never a time when it was completely clear of clouds. According to the rangers at the Park, Denali is visible at all only about 25% of the time, so we were fortunate to get the beautiful views we did.
On the second day, our Intrepid Voyagers decided to check out the Dog Mushing Demonstrations. This is a short bus ride from the Denali Visitor's Center. Visitors are allowed to meet (and pet) the dogs for about 10-15 minutes, then a few of the dogs are selected (and you should see them begging to be selected!) and hooked up to a sled. The dogs then pull the sled around a short path of crushed rock, then lounge in front of the visitors while the rangers describe life as a sled dog.
The dogs just love all of the attention, as you can see from the following photos. This dog just can't wait to have his belly scratched (again!). People lined up to help him out.
Some of the dogs are kept in cages instead of on leashes. This may be because the dog just isn't as sociable as others, or maybe the dog is young and a little over-eager. This guy doesn't let this stop him from a good scratch. He just mashes himself up against the gate and lets the people come to him. There was a line of people waiting to give him a good scratch, and he changed sides occasionally to get scratched all over. No dummy, this dog!
While all of the people are dog-watching, some of the dogs like to people-watch, too. This dog intently watched everyone as they walked by, with a sphinx-like expression on his face. When selection time came, though, he went as crazy as the others to be chosen to pull the sled.
And a few more shots of our friendly canine hosts..
Then, of course, it was sledding time!
After the Dog demonstrations, our ambitious group decided to hike back to the Visitor's Center. The hike turned out a little longer than planned, but was still enjoyable. During this hike, the only bona fide group photos were taken. Unfortunately, someone had to run the camera, so a true group photo was not possible. However, thanks to the magic of computer enhancement, a complete group photo can now be published (see third image).
And, of course, a few shots of Donovan round off our tour.