Riding on the bus to Eielson Visitor Center
31.07.2016 - 05.08.2016 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.