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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.
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.

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, 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.
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)

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