Camping with the bears
30.07.2016 - 05.08.2016 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.
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.
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
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.