So much for our grand plans for today, as described at the end of the
last entry. We still had a good day exploring Denali, just closer to
"home" than we'd originally intended.
I was going to catch a shuttle bus to the Eielson Visitor Center so I
could hike up the alpine trail to the ridge, wander around the tundra,
and then possibly walk down to the river and wander around there. Jim
planned to catch a bus to Eielson or the Polychrome Overlook and ride his
bike back on the park road to our campground at Teklanika River.
Didn't happen. We
aren't 35 any more.
Above and below: the terrain behind our
campsite, where it's nice to walk Cody
Porcupine hiding behind tree
I was more wiped out from yesterdayís trip than I expected. When I got
up at 6 AM it was overcast and 40 F. I was tired enough to go back to
bed for another two hours, although I didn't sleep well. When I
got up again at 8 it was mostly sunny.
Even if it had been sunny at 6 AM Iím not sure I would have gone out on
an early bus to Eielson. I needed more of a rest day today. There are
lots of later buses that go out there and beyond but I know the
likelihood of cloud cover increases during the afternoon.
Nice and sunny at our campground for a while in the
If I go out tomorrow, I need to leave early. Thatís my last chance for a
shuttle bus ride with the Tek Pass.
Jim didnít get up until after 8:30 AM and eventually decided not to ride
the bus to Eielson or Polychrome, either.
We modified our plans
so we didn't feel like we "wasted" a day at Denali.
In the morning we both hiked north from our campsite along the nearby
Before long we had to detour over a ridge, where we got even more expansive views
than down along the riverbed:
Jim looks at the river from the top of the cliff.
Nice view south
Nice view north
We tried to get to the other side of the ridge by walking through some
dense brush/trees on narrow animal trails Ė or none. The mossy ground
was very soft and we sunk several inches with each footfall. That was
cool! I had trekking poles and had an easier time walking through that
terrain than Jim.
We found lots of blueberries and spent time picking/eating them:
I love little arrangements of alpine plants like
We turned around after about 3/4 mile and went back approximately the
We werenít down on the gravel bar next to the water channels much. Itís
easier to hike through the rocks and river braids going south from
the campground -- like I did
days ago -- than going north.
In the afternoon and evening I took Cody on two walks in the woods and
through the campground. After supper Jim and I walked over to the
amphitheater. I had a total of about 3Ĺ miles walking today, Jim a
BIKE RIDE ON THE PARK ROAD
After lunch we went on a bike ride together. Jim did about 8Ĺ miles and
I went 7Ĺ. We rode through the campground to warm up, then east on the
park road for 3+ miles. There was only about a 100-foot elevation
Outbound we had some
pretty blue sky to the east and north:
The Teklanika River flows beneath the ridges in the next photo. We could
see some ponds like these close to the road, but not the river:
We rode for 25 minutes on the road before seeing any traffic. There were
six buses on our way back and three park vehicles.
The road is wide enough to Teklanika that we didnít have to pull over.
Beyond that cyclists are supposed to stop when they see a bus and buses
are supposed to go only 10 MPH past cyclists, hikers, or other vehicles.
The road was very dusty in some places yesterday when we went out to
Wonder Lake. We didnít have any problems with that today while riding.
When we turned around and went back west toward the campground the sky
in that direction was mostly cloudy. We didnít see any sun after about 3
PM. We felt some rain drops off and on while riding and later when Jim
was outside reading.
We paused above some of the wet areas to see if
there were any moose. Nope. The odds weren't
real high since it was in the early afternoon and
they were more likely sleeping than eating.
Some sub-alpine and alpine plants are already turning gold and red -- and
it's only early August.
A pond near our campground
We attended the 7:30 PM ranger talk at the Teklanika River campground
amphitheater. As at the Riley Creek Campground near the entrance, every
evening at Tek there is a ranger talk.
This presentation was the most interesting to me of the three talks Iíve
attended so far at Denali. The young female ranger was very personable,
spoke articulately and comfortably, and generated a lot of audience
The topic was winter animal adaptations in the park.
The animals we see in the summer months either migrate, hibernate, or tolerate
the harsh winter conditions. The speaker focused on the ones that remain here and adapt
to the frigid temperatures, deep snow, wind, and limited food supply. It
gave us even more more respect for these tough critters.
Before going to bed Jim and I made sure we have everything as ready as possible
for our individual treks tomorrow. This time we are more determined to go on the
adventures I described earlier. We're rested and the weather forecast
looks better than today's.
Next entry: Day 7 at Denali -- Sue's Eielson alpine
hike and shuttle bus ride plus Jim's bike ride along the park
road between the Teklanika River and Sable Pass (includes more
photos of Denali, bears, caribou, and Dall sheep)
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
and Cody the ultra Lab
© 2012 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil