A much delayed report of day three of the trip because we spent the last few days at places with no wifi. But at least there were showers. Friday we woke up in the hostel and headed a few miles north to Denali National Park. We took the green shuttle bus out to the Eielson Visitor Center and then went on a hike further into the park. We saw quite the array of wildlife including:
- Caribou, probably about a dozen total over three groups. (Laura and I also saw one on the highway driving up from Talkeetna.)
- Dall sheep… soooo many Dall sheep. But the ones that were ten feet from the bus were the most impressive
- A brown bear — This was the only animal that excited the bus driver. ”Bear on the road! Bear on the road, 12 o’ clock! Everyone roll down your windows and be quiet!”
- Golden Eagle
Sadly, the clouds blocked our view of Denali the mountain… (Note that in the following video, I am standing about five feet in front of Laura, and as a result, I look like a giant compared to her — or she looks extra small.)
On the bus ride back we met Cass. Cass is a clerk for the interpretive center at the park, but on Friday he was just taking the shuttle bus ride like any other visitor. He pointed out something that changed the way I viewed the park: “The star of the show is not the landscape, it’s the light. The mountains are a beautiful canvas, but the way they are painted by the midnight sun with its odd angles is what makes them more dramatic than any other mountain range.” I’m paraphrasing him, but it’s a remarkable (and true) sentiment.
After we were finished, we drove to Healy and stayed at a cute little cabin a mile up a dirt road. We were a little loopy at this point due to the lack of sleep caused by the strange psychological effects of the midnight sun… also, we hadn’t showered in a few days, so we don’t look our best.