The Reed Family's Travel Adventures
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Images Copyright 2001-2010 - Eric Reed

Denali – Day Two

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The second day at Denali National Park and Preserve did not disappoint on the wildlife front.  We took what is called the “long tour” into the park.  There were two options for a tour through the wilderness here – one of them was a three hour version and the other an eight hour one.  While planning the trip, Mom agonized over which one to take because we knew they could only take school busses in (not big motor coaches) and we were travelling with two kids.  But, she did her research and discovered that the shorter version of the trip just didn’t go far enough into the park to have a good shot at seeing very much and, when dealing with wildlife, it’s all pot-luck as to what you might get to see anyway.

So, we all got on our school bus (actually pretty nice as they replaced the seats and added luggage racks above) at 7:30am and chugged off into the great wilderness of the park for eight hours to see what we could see.  We were very lucky on the wildlife front as we got to see most of what the park has to offer.  Our guide was even impressed and said we saw as much wildlife as he might usually see in two or three days.

It started off as we turned onto the road just after the main entrance to the park where there was a big cow moose grazing right by the side of the road.  She was obviously used to the traffic and let us creep slowly by her.

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From then on, it was a smorgasbord of the animals that call the park home.  We saw eagles, hawks, wolves, bears, foxes, dall sheep (look like big mountain goats), moose, caribou and lots of smaller animals.  Our guide said the only thing we didn’t see was a lynx which he only sees about once a month.  It was a long trip but with all that to keep us interested it didn’t seem all that long and the kids had a blast.  Nice choice, Mom.

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The only minor disappointment was that, when we got to the main viewing area for the mountain itself, it was almost totally obscured by clouds (a very common occurrence).  Here’s what it’s supposed to look like (a shot you’ve probably seen before):

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And here is what it was that day (from the spot where you see the busses in the above picture):

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If you click on that picture to enlarge it, and look closely, you can see parts of the side of the mountain through the clouds.  It’s not quite as big as the previous shot makes it look (they used a very large telephoto lens from very far away to make the mountain look larger in relation to the busses) but it’s an awfully big mountain.

We did get a peek at it from a different vantage point which is the picture I had at the beginning of my last post.

The rest of the pictures from Denali are here.