A Travellerspoint blog

One Last Day in Alaska

Making memories

rain 60 °F

The rain returned in the night and rained thru noon on Wed. Kids went out for a few minutes with rain jackets on only to return to the RV cold. No hike was possible.

We had reserved our site thru Wed night but decided that leaving a few hours earlier would be fine. I looked in the Milepost and found 1. An ice cream shop just outside of Denali and 2. A museum with a kid’s area in Anchorage. We packed the RV and were off.

But before leaving the Denali area I wanted for the kids to experience some local ice cream and at the ice cream shop we found Huckleberry Ice Cream. Zaya was thrilled, as she remembered the huckleberry ice cream from Glacier National Park.

We made it down to Anchorage on Thurs but before anything else, we had to have French toast with Wild Blueberry Syrup. Yum, we are crazy for the syrup.
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We found the Anchorage Museum by afternoon. The kid’s area is so great, all hands on things to do. Lots of experiments to teach kids of all ages. We didn’t leave until the museum closed at 6pm.
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After turning in the RV, we had long flights home, but what a trip!

Posted by Miss Chris 09:51 Archived in USA Tagged travel alaska anchorage grandkids_trip airplane_travel anchorage_museum Comments (0)

Denali, Another Day in Paradise

More Eielson Visitor Center

overcast 68 °F

I had decided that we’d take one more bus ride to Eielson so that kids could get their Jr. Ranger badge, we could hike a little and we could look at the exhibits. Also, we could maybe see more wildlife.IMG_201608..3608188_HDR.jpg

Our Tek Pass allowed us to ride any green bus as long as there was room. This proved to be a challenge and we had to wait as several buses were too full for the 5 of us to ride. After close to an hour we did get a bus ride to Eielson. The clouds moved a bit so the kids even got to see Denali. Not the whole mountain, but a sliver.

At Eielson, we sat at a picnic table overlooking the river and ate our lunch. The kids then got their Jr Ranger badges.
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For our hike, we chose to walk down to the river. This hike was chosen by a vote. Zaya wanted to take the loop but the boys voted to go to the river. As we hiked we were told that the last part of the trail was closed as a grizzly bear was at the river. As we started walking down the kids found wild blueberry bushes. They started picking blueberries and stuffing themselves. We had to remind them to keep walking. Finally, we made it down to where the trail was closed but the bear was too difficult to see as it was walking in and out of the brush.

We started back up the trail but had a difficult time getting kids to move along. At one point Lucian laid in the blueberry bushes and just ate. They got lots of antioxidants!

By the time we got back to the Visitor Center it had started to rain plus the rangers were rounding all of us as a grizzly was headed up the hill. We stayed inside until we could board a bus back to our campsite.

Fortunately, by the time we arrived back at our campsite the rain let up and we were able to have a fire and wiener roast.
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Posted by Miss Chris 15:36 Archived in USA Tagged nature hiking alaska outdoors grandkids jr_ranger denali_national_park eielson_visitor_center Comments (0)

Denali Camping, Fine River Mud

Denali National Park

No one wanted to get up and going early this morning. It was going to be a cleanup day, changing sheets and we’d promised a hike to the rock. The rock is a large hilly area at the river, to the north of the campsites. During other visits, we have walked there before and I’ve sat at the top and read books.
We walked out to the river and immediately kids started working with the mud.
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Lucian: We are living the life
Zaya: This is silver mud paradise
Sequoia: This is quicksand utopia

Kids made a circle of rocks around mud, then added more water and dirt, thinking they’d make quicksand. Then they’d run through water and back to the mud.
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We eventually hiked out to the rock, taking one path that would dead end and then another. In order to ward off the bears, kids sang and yelled as loud as possible. I’m sure the bears were not surprised by us.
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Posted by Miss Chris 14:13 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip nature camping outdoors grandkids_travel rv_travel denali_national_park teklanika_river_campground Comments (0)

Denali Camping, Day 2

Riding on the bus to Eielson Visitor Center

overcast 68 °F

The park has some buses that run from the Visitor’s Center to Kantishna, at Mile 92.4 and run round trip. Some busses only go in as far as Eielson Visitor’s Center and others to Wonder Lake at Mile 84, but once you have tickets you can stop wherever you want. So some people want to hike out at one place or another and just ask the driver to stop. They get out and go on their way. Returning, if a bus has room, the driver will stop for those hitchhiking along the side of the road. There are, also, rest stops along the way with pit toilets.

I’d bought tickets for Dale and me, and reserved for kids (they are free) seats on the Kantishna bus. This way we could ride as far as we wanted on any of our days in Denali.

The bus drivers have radio contact with each other so that when wildlife is spotted they can stop if it is nearby. They do have some time constraints with departure and arrival times but there is usually always a few minutes to see whatever animal that has been spotted.

As it turned out, a huge landslide had occurred just after the Eielson Visitor Center so our driver was being paid for 13 hours but couldn’t get that far into the park. He was able to make many stops on the return trip, and we stopped for as long as we wanted.
Going into Eielson we did see a mother bear and her cub, but at a distance. We also saw Dall Sheep, elk, caribou and pika.

We thought we’d stay with our driver so only had 30 minutes in Eielson before returning. On the way back we saw another mother bear and her 2 cubs. These were small cubs, about 6 months old. When we first spotted them, they were down a hill but then started coming towards our bus. We watched as one cub fell and rolled down a steeper part of a hill, then ran up and caught up with the mother. The mother led them up the hill, across the road, right in front of us, then on up the hill on the other side.
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This was what we’d hoped the grandkids would experience.

Posted by Miss Chris 13:52 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip wildlife nature grizzly_bears alaska outdoors grandkids denali_national_park eielson_visitor_center Comments (0)

Denali Camping, Day 1

Camping with the bears

overcast 68 °F

On Friday we made it as far as Denali State Park, where it was raining. We were the only ones in a well-maintained park and camped overnight. We took off early and made it to Denali National Park mid-morning.

There are 7 campgrounds in Denali, 1 close to the entrance of the park at Mile 0.2, and 4 are for tents only and accessible by the park bus.
We love to camp in Teklanika River Campground. There are 53 sites so in order to get what we want and when we want, we reserve months in advance. For this trip, I reserved in the winter. We thought that a stay of 5 nights would work well for these kids.

Teklanika is the last campground one can drive to, inside the park. There is a checkpoint at mile 12.8 and one must show the proper pass in order to drive further inside. Then Teklanika is at Mile 29.1. It is quite a long 29 miles as the road is rough, one-lane part of the way, and curvy. But it is well worth the drive.

The Teklanika River runs along the back of the 2 camp loops with a gravel and rocky front. Then there are trees and shrubs along the rear of the campsites. Campsites are 1st come, 1st serve. So you reserve but not for a specific site.

We found a campsite and sat up our RV. We wanted a site along the rear of the loop, with a path and view of the river, because we knew that kids would be more visible. For this site, we pulled straight in rather than backed in. We did this so we could have a view from our windshield, rather than have a view of the road. From where I’m sitting at our table, inside the RV, I can look out and down the path to the river and have a clear view of the river.
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As soon as we’d parked the kids started running. They’d been in this RV for too many hours. We’d brought walkie talkies for them so that they could run to the river and have radio contact with us. Right away someone came up and told us that bears had been spotted in the campground so to be careful. Then a lady came up and said that a mama bear and her cub had been seen in the site next to ours about 1 hour before. She asked if we had bear spray and I told her that I’d forgotten to buy some.
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We told the kids that they couldn’t go to the river or anywhere we could not see them. They ran around the site for a little longer then came closer to the RV. Just then, as I was looking out of the windshield, the cub came up the path into our campsite. I started yelling at the kids to get into the RV. By the time Sequoia got into the RV, the bear was gone, but Dale and I were well shaken. I didn’t even get a photo
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A few minutes later the same woman and her husband came over with 2 cans of bear spray. They said that they were leaving and couldn’t leave without us having some protection. We were so grateful.

Posted by Miss Chris 10:03 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip nature camping outdoors grandkids_travel rv_travel denali_national_park teklanika_river_campground Comments (0)

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