Alaska 2014

NOTE:  When Sharon adds comments, they will be in {curly brackets}.  Comments added AFTER coming back to San Jose are in [square brackets].


Report 40. Day 40. Fri, June 13. All the Way into Denali Park.

It's 6:33am, and we are parked in front of a Subway shop, where Jerry is ordering a breakfast sandwich. We are being picked up at the Bluffs Hotel by the Denali bus that will take us on an 11 hour tour into the park, and we are plenty early. We can see a long line of customers in the Subway and Jerry is far back, but there is plenty of time - no problem.

Sharon asks where is my voice recorder. I look at her and say You are Terrible, Muriel. Shirley says she has a friend named Muriel, and that she plays the accordion. I say does she play cards? You know, according to Hoyle? Only I blew it by saying "according" instead of "accordion to Hoyle". Dangit.

Jerry is back, so we drive up to the Bluffs parking lot, but the lot is full. Jerry volunteers to let us off, go park, and then walk up, so that happens.

The bus finally comes along, after we trade experiences with some other riders, and takes us into the park. I go inside and pick up our tickets, while everyone else holds our place in line for the actual bus that will carry us all day long. Successful, I return to the line, and soon our bus arrives. We pick four spots, one seat in front of the other, so we are close, and looking out the left side of the bus.

Then come the rules, the main one of which I get is no hanging out the bus. {Also "park rules say you must wear the seatbelts" (which we do until about 40 miutes into the trip where it becomes clear that you can't see animals on the other side of the bus if you use the seat belt which is awkward to put on anyway) and no loud talking when we see animals.}

One of our first animals is a group of Caribou.

We get our first break, so people can use the rest room etc. and here is Shirley, back on the bus.

Then we come upon a bit of magic. A mama bear and two cubs. I get fabulous video, but only a couple of good photos. The first one shows one of the babies getting a drink at the stream. That cub walks back to the others.

Here the drinking cub flops down onto the other cub, hard to see here. { Great video on Bob's Facebook page [Robert Lutman] for you to watch, though it may take a few hours to register.}

Soon, we come upon more caribou, inluding a really nice looking male, who may be the head schoolmaster here.

The snowy mountain tops are great.

Even a look at Mt. McKinley is included.

A little red fox runs along the two buses, stopped for his benefit. Then another snowy mountain shot.

About ten o'clock we get a Peregrine Falcon flyby, but don't get a photo. About a half hour later, we see a snowshoe hare escape from the wheels of the bus in front of us.

About half past noon, we have gone past Eileson, the previous furthest Sharon or I had ever been into Denali, and we are headed for Kantishna.

We get a soaring raptor, which we believe to be another Peregrine.

Then we are all the way in, where there is huge and gorgeous Wonder Lake.

Mosquitoes like crazy, hence the head covers which they provided.

Now on the way back, I get about three minutes of video with the stupid moose standing absolutely still. After I turn offf the video, he changes the direction of his gaze. Dangit. Such a powerful move, and I miss it!

About 3:30 we get a nice Golden Eagle on the ground.

I don't make many more entries because I'm getting sicker and sicker. I'm sneezing about every 30 seconds, blowing through all our kleenex and toilet paper and everybody else's around us. The bus driver comes back and gives me a free nasal spray bottle, which I start using but it doesn't seem to be drying anything up. I feel terrible, but know that there's still hours to go before we get off the bus. {Poor Bob, he is really sick and stuck on the bus. I can see that he is running a fever and feels miserable. It came on him so fast.}

4:30 and we stop at Eileson. {The scenic picture is actually a quilt, I wish you could see the detail.}

By and by we get back to the Bluffs Hotel, Jerry gets our truck, and it's back to camp.

We drive over to the Salmon Bake, the name of a restaurant. where we have dinner. Then we hit a gift shop in the little town of Denali.


That's it for today. Cheers to ya,
Bob and Sharon

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