Travel Tuesay - Denali National Park, Alaska

This week I'd like to take you on another Alaskan adventure in Denali National Park.  If you ever get the chance to visit the great and beautiful state of Alaska, you'll want to make time in your schedule to spend a few days in Denali.

This is one part of Alaska, that you get a bit of everything.  When you first enter the park you'll be surrounded by tree's, mostly pines.  Then as you get up into the middle area's you'll get to see lots and lots of Tundra and pretty much no tree's.  The higher elevations are glaciers, rocky mountains and of course snow.

A mother and her 2 cubs taking a nap

It's also home to a lot of wildlife.  I say a lot because it's over 6 million acres of wilderness.  I saw over 22 bears in one day alone.  Although they do have black bear, I only saw Grizzly's.
I also saw hundred's of Carabu, lots of mountain goats, moose to name a few.

Beautiful vantage points as you go through the park.  I should mention you can only go through a short portion of the park on your own, in your own vehicle.  After that you'll either have to sign up for a bus tour, or take the hop on, hop off National Park buses.

The great thing about this area, you can get out and hike until your heart is content.  Hike for an hour or backpack in for a few days or weeks.

Because Denali is home to Mt. McKinley (tallest mountain in the United States).  McKinley has it's own weather pattern.  Because of that, what you can see on any given day changes when looking over the McKinley mountain range.

Most of the tundra is green, and it is a very vast place, like in the picture above.

Their are a few lakes and rivers, in the area.  At the end of the park, I went into another area called Kantishna.  It is basically a lodge, and even a hotel.  There in Moose Creek (the hot spot of the gold rush in the early 1900's) I got to pan for gold.  If you are wondering if I found any gold.  Yes, I did find a tiny, tiny gold rock.  A bit larger than a spec, but still I can say I found gold in Alaska:)

If you glance up at the large bare rock mountains, it's a pretty much a guarantee you'll see lots of mountain goats.  I say its a guarantee, but you will have to look and don't confuse them wish snow patches:)

There is a view tower, near the top, where you can look out and check out some of the panorama views of the area.  If you're lucky, you might be part of the 30%.  Only 30% of the people who take a vacation to Alaska ever get to see Mt. McKinley.  The day's I was in Denali, I have to say I did not see Mt. McKinley.  It's funny because it's so huge you would think you couldn't miss it.  But yes it's possible.  I did see it on my trip though.  (You can read about my glacial landing and air tour of McKinley HERE.)  I saw the big mountain on one of my first day's in Alaska near Ankorage.  Then again on one of my last days from Talakeenta, and of course I got very up close and personal with it:)

Three more grizzly bears - Keep your eyes peeled when out or hiking they might
be right around the corner, or down a bank:) You never know:)

I have talked to a lot of people who visited Alaska (or even live there) and even those who have been to Denali and they say they never saw any bears.  First, some people have no idea what to look for to spot bears, it's not their fault no one has taught them.  They might of had some bears 50 feet away, and still may have missed if if they didn't know what to look for.
A tip, keep your eyes peeled, and watch for furry rock:)  Yes, I am serious!!!  

I mentioned there are lots and lots of Caribou, and yes there is!  This is another animal, that their are so many herds of in Denali, you are pretty much guaranteed to see them, if you are watching!

When you are out hiking on foot, you might even get to see some smaller wildlife.

Growing in the tundra and rocks, are also beautiful and unusual wildflowers.  Denali is one of those places, that there is a different kind of beauty everywhere, you just have to keep your eyes open to see it.

Although I wouldn't drink the glacial water in this area, it's traveled too far to be safe by here.  (Yes, I did drink glacial water, but I actually took some from an actual glacier right at the source.  I figured it may be old water, but at least it was likely safe.  But I didn't do this in Denali, I did this in another area of Alaska:)

That's my dad:)

Although you can see a lot from the windows of the bus.  I highly recommend getting out and doing some hiking!  If you are going to Alaska, you have to want to go hiking, right?

This is the cabin I rented for while we were there.    So cute, right in the mountains, and although I was afraid that it might not be clean, it was very clean and nice inside!
We also had an amazing view of this big river (pictured below) as we looked out from the balcony of the cabin.  Too bad I didn't have my fishing pole with me!
If you've ever wondered how dark it gets in the middle of June in Alaska.  Well the cabin picture and the river picture below.  Where both taken around midnight, so yes this is the darkest it gets that time of year:)


*  There are lots of places to stay, hotels, cabins or camping in the area.  Just make reservations ahead of time.
*  In the summer you have the midnight sun, so you can explore at any hour of the day or night, and you won't have to worry about carrying a flashlight.
*  There is a park entrance fee.
*  You can take tours or the park buses.  I took a tour one day, but it was 11 hours and cost $99.  It was worth it once, but I wouldn't do it a 2nd time.  It's more fun to be able to get out and see things at your own pace, and stop and photograph the animals.
*  Take your own water and food with you.  Unless you are going up to the lodge at the other end, there aren't many other opportunities to grab any water or food.

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