We traveled deep into the park, in areas where only buses were permitted. The idea is to keep the wilderness wild, and limit the contact that the animals have with humans.
The purpose of the screens on the bus was to help with sightings. We learned the convention of using a clock face when we would see wildlife, calling it out as "Moose at three o'clock!" The bus driver had a camera with a telescopic lens, and he would find the moose and project it onto the screens inside the bus. This way, those who didn't have fancy cameras could see the animals well.
We saw many animals: moose, bear, chipmunk, birds, Dall sheep. We saw miles and miles of gorgeous scenery and I was impressed at the contrast between the immensity of the mountains and the tininess of the wildflowers.
Following are some of our pictures from our full day in Denali. The next morning we were back at the depot to catch the train for a full day's ride to our next destination.
|I'm fond of wild flowers, and I was pleased that at Denali National Park there were areas where they were labeled.|
|Tom was our wonderful guide from the time we arrived in Fairbanks until we left Anchorage.|
|Mrs. Moose enjoys an afternoon snack of seaweed.|
|Hundreds of views, each gorgeous.|
|The depot at Denali; we spent several hours there on the morning of our departure as our train was late.|
|One of the park rangers sharing information about how the dogs work in the winter.|
|"Sunset," put in quotes because it never did get dark.|
|Screen on the bus to help us see distant animals.|
|Another labeled wildflower. I particularly liked the name "Eskimo Potato."|
|Why did the moose cross the road?|
|Everywhere were these Charlie Brown Christmas trees; their spindliness is due to the short season of very long days.|
|Sign on the inside of the bathroom cubicles in the park.|
|Mountain upon mountain upon mountain.|
|A big year for twins, not just for people but for bears and moose!|
|A refreshing dip.|
|A caribou, also known as reindeer.|
|Not all of the animals were big!|
We finally boarded around lunch time, and again were in the first car with the glass dome. We enjoyed lunch on the train, and stopped briefly in Talkeetna where some of us got out and walked around on the platform. We passed Wasilla, but that city's most famous resident was nowhere to be seen!
Joe again spent a lot of time on the observation platform, and I enjoyed the beautiful scenery and spent some time catching up on my journaling. Dinner was served on the train, and at last we arrived at our destination.
We were transported to the Anchorage Marriott, tired from our long day of travel, and didn't venture out because we needed to get up at four o'clock on Friday morning. Although the hotel's restaurant wasn't scheduled to open early, arrangements had been made for a breakfast buffet to be made available to us at five o'clock.
And then it was off to the airport. We'd been pretty much off the grid for a week, and as we waited for our flight, most of us turned on our phones to find the SCOTUS decision about the Affordable Health Care was in the headlines. Even as we celebrated, those headlines went down and we learned that gay marriage was now legal throughout our country.
And then we were back on "airplane mode" because our flight was ready to leave!