TUESDAY, JULY 10, 2012 – DENALI NATIONAL PARK
We grabbed a take-n-go lunch at Subway in Healy before meeting our motor coach at the Wilderness Access Center at 9:00 am. Denali Park Road is a treacherous, winding two-lane road with no shoulders. Private vehicles are only allowed to mile marker 14.
The bus driver encouraged us to let him know if we saw any wildlife along our 70-mile trip to the Eielson Visitor Center; he would gladly stop so that everyone on the bus could get photos. There was a colorblind bozo on our shuttle who is evidently hypersensitive to movement. He kept shouting to the bus driver to stop for us to look at wildlife miles away. Even with binoculars, most of us couldn’t get a glimpse of what he was seeing. The bus driver started getting frustrated and eventually ignored him.
We saw caribou, moose and Dall sheep, some were pretty far away and my photos aren’t very good.
At the Eielson Visitor Center, we got out of the shuttle. We saw a couple of caribou in the distance, but we were mainly captivated by a fox that was prancing around the visitor center.
Then, someone noticed a bear rambling down the mountain just across the road. We waited and watched as it crossed the road and got closer and closer. Pretty soon it was 30 yards (maybe) away from us, with us between the bear and the fox. I think the bus driver was getting nervous and encouraging us to get back on the shuttle. We were all so intrigued. We kept watching and snapping photos.
T.J. got a nice video. It didn’t seem like we were in any danger, but I’m sure that’s how most victims of bear attacks feel until its too late. Eventually, the driver just said we were leaving and we made our way to the shuttle.
On the way back down the mountain, we saw a moose close to the road.
Finally – bear and moose sitings!
I bought a National Parks Concentration game at the Visitor Center.
We went back to Prospectors Historic Pizzeria & Alehouse for another order of Mozzarella Bricks and who knows – really who cares – what else.