Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fox and caribou and wolves - oh my!

6AM on June 19th and we were boarding the bus to head out of Kantishna, out of Denali National Park.  This time we knew what side of the bus would give us the best view *happy face* and since we were traveling in the morning, there was more animal activity.

Two hours in and we arrived at Eielson again.  It really is a beautiful place.  Mt. McKinley was still a bit hidden, but it was a nice day. 
view from Eielson Visitor Center

We tried to get pictures of the park road, and how it was pretty much straight down about a foot outside the bus.
yeah, that's straight down...
The pictures just don't do the road justice.  Twisty turny halfway up a mountain...  We were told that they selected the path of the road for the view, not ease of use.  And man, the view was wonderful.

We did get to a place where we could still see Mt. McKinley, and it was (mostly) clear!
Mt. McKinley is the white one...

And now, what you all came here to see - animals!

this fox was a mix - silver and red.  his tail looked like a red panda's tail.
This little guy was just off the side of the road.  He didn't care that we were there, he just sat and paid attention to his surroundings.  He was keeping an eye on a little varmint somewhere off the road, and we moved on once he went after it.  Jeff saw on the park's facebook page that he did have his meal...

So many caribou.  Do you know the difference between caribou and reindeer?  Reindeer can fly!  But scientists say that they are identical in DNA.  While watching the caribou on the snow, we got word that were were wolves up ahead in the creek bed!  So off we went...

do you see all three?
At first I couldn't see the wolves.  They were so far away and blended in with the landscape you had to watch for movement.  We traveled the same direction as the wolves for quite a while, and were eventually close enough to get some decent photos.

Bears in different parts of the state eat different things.  Bears at Denali eat a lot of plants.  They dig up roots.  Sometimes they catch a ground squirrel.  It's the different food that makes their fur a lighter color than Kodiak bears, for example.

Our time at the Backcountry Lodge was really great.  That fact became more and more apparent once we got out of the park and dumped into a big ball of tourists.  As we were surrounded by people at the hotel (McKinley Chalet - never ever go there), at restaurants, on the train, I kept wishing I was back in that big vast area of nature.  Next time, more than 2 nights...

Oh, one more thing - Jeff got attacked by a bear...

but don't worry, he's okay.

Up next, driving the Haul Road and sleeping in a caboose!

See the full itinerary here...


  1. Who's okay after the bear attack? Jeff or The Bear! LOL ;)

  2. Ha! The bear is fine; I gave him a hug when he was done with Jeff. :-)