Denali AKA Mt. McKinley


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Continued from the previous page.


I got my south-side window seat back on Tim's bus and had it to myself the rest of the way home to Tek at Mile 29. That's the side where I think passengers can get the best scenic photos from inside the bus, both outbound and inbound.

Here are some of the photos I took on the way back, when it was more cloudy in some places:

South end of Wonder Lake, where the Wonder lake and Kantishna shuttle buses stop for a rest break.

Above and below:  view south to McKinley River valley
with Alaska Range (and Denali) in background under the clouds


Above and below:  views approaching Eielson from the west

At the Eielson rest stop I took the next two photos to the east and north as I was walking around the outside of the visitor center.

Denali was under clouds to the west -- glad I saw it so clearly several hours earlier!


That's Thorofare Ridge, where I hiked this morning.

Continuing east on the bus to the Toklat River area and Polychrome Pass:


Above and below:  Toklat riverbed, looking south


Toklat River, looking north from the rest area

Above and below:  Polychrome glacier area and E. Fork of the Toklat River drainage

I enjoyed talking with the couples in front of and behind me. Both Kantishna buses I rode (yesterday and today) had really nice people on board. Good thing, because they have to be hardy, patient souls to endure that 12- to 13-hour ride. 

Critters weren't as prolific as yesterday. I did see three grizzlies, a mama moose and calf (shown below, near the spur road down to the Wonder Lake rest area), and a bunch of caribou.



Suppertime near Polychrome

Two caribou trot up the park road between Stony Hill and Eielson, with Denali in the
background, right.  Wildlife always has the right of way on the park road.

I still haven't seen (at Denali) any Dahl sheep at close range, a bull moose, a mama bear with cubs, a wolf, a lynx, or a wolverine. There's still time . . .


Jim left the Tek Campground on a bike ride to Sable Pass about 10 AM and saw Denali before it was hidden under clouds.

I'm pleased that he took some photos during his ride today:

Above and below:  Fireweeds are at peak bloom now.


Denali is below the arrow.

Zoomed in on Denali

View toward Polychrome, where the road (arrow) is high above the Toklat River Valley

Near Sable Pass

Colorful hills on the way back to Tek

Right side of the photo above

Jim rode about 20 miles and saw another couple from our campground out cycling, too. The highlight of his ride was seeing Denali clearly for several miles. Unlike some of his rides on the park road three years ago, he didn't see any big critters today.

The road surface yesterday and today was fine for cycling. It was only muddy and soft when we drove out to the Tek Campground on Sunday after all the rain and road grading.

While I was gone Jim walked the dogs several times and took Casey for a bike ride to the Teklanika River rest stop again. She loves going there. I also walked the dogs around the campground this evening. It's always fun to see who's there and talk to other visitors.


I haven't mentioned anything lately about the long hours of daylight up here. Daylight is lessening now but is still longer than in the Lower 48. 

The sun goes down behind the nearby mountains about 10 PM and it's been getting a little darker at night. At summer solstice it doesn't get totally dark this far north. I noticed on the weather board at Eielson today that sunrise and sunset are a total of five minutes less from yesterday to today:

Monday: 4:38 AM sunrise, 11:37 PM sunset = 18:59 hours of daylight. Tuesday 4:41 AM sunrise, 11:35 PM sunset = 18:54 hours of daylight.

We vividly remember being at Denali and Fairbanks in early September, 2012 and how rapidly daylight disappears from day to day in autumn. It's a slippery slope, literally and figuratively. Neither of us could handle the long, dark, cold winters up here but we sure do love summertime in Alaska!

Next entryadventure on the edge -- hiking and cycling at Polychrome Pass (Tek Pass ride #3)

Happy trails,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody the ultra Lab, and Casey-pup

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2015 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil