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Sunday, June 26 - Discovery Hike in Denali NP

Today, we signed up for a Discovery Hike with a park ranger, Jen Gerhardt. We took a bus to mile 58 (Highway Pass), then walked off into the tundra towards a hill about 2 miles away.  We saw MANY flowers on the way. Here are some of them:





Most of these flowers are very small.  The first white flower in the second row is a bear flower, one that the bears find to be sweet.  There wasn't a square foot on the tundra where you didn't see flowers. sometimes there were carpets of flowers as seen here between the rocks. And how about that teal-colored flower?  It was all of about 3/4 inch tall.





These following are our attempts to photograph what we were hiking in.  I hope you can sense the vastness of the valley, and the height of the ridges.







If you are challenged trying to see Mt McKinley in this picture, think how frustrated we are...we have been trying to see it for 4 days!  This is the best picture we have.

On our way back, we had rain, then slush, then hail, then some snow.  Our bus driver, Rich, had to drive through the stuff, then confided, as we got off the bus, that it was the first time he had driven the road by himself (six times previously with a supervisor)!  Even when the road is dry, the narrow dirt road with hills and their switchbacks is quite a challenge, with barely enough room for two buses to pass each other (sometimes about 6 inches between them).

We saw a BIG bull moose on the way back. The whole day was quire an experience.


Monday, June 27 - Dog Sled Kennels

Sad was time to leave Denali.  But we did see some animals on the way out:

Ptarmigan, caribou and arctic hare. Also a moose and another caribou that came running down the highway, and when it turned the corner and saw us, he immediately braked and ran the other way. Talk about chicken...
That reminds me: I didn't tell you the story about Chicken, Alaska.  Believe it or not, the first settlers (miners) wanted to name the town after the ptarmigan, but couldn't decide how to spell ptarmigan, so...




old cabins

We also went to the sled dog kennels.  The Park Rangers still use dog sleds in the winter because you can't use motorized equipment in wilderness areas.






They're off...





That's us "behind the wheel".  How do you get this thing to go? Mush!  Mush!

on the way out...

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