A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about wildlife

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)

A Snake In the Night

A snake in the Joshua Tree Campground

sunny 80 °F

Before Dale and I were married, and after, until the farm, we’d take off on our weekends to go wherever we wanted to go. Dale had a VW camper van and it was quite perfect for the 2 of us. We went to Solvang, Big Sur, San Diego, up and down the coast.

We’d been home for a week from Dallas and Oklahoma when I just felt like we needed to be the free birds we once were. Drama and family issues were pulling us in and I did not want to be a part of it. Additionally, since there has still been no work and Dale is retired, there seemed no reason to stay put. Well, there are plenty of projects to get done at home and in the RV, but those can be ignored. I told Dale that we should just pack up and go to Joshua Tree and he agreed.

We decided that we’d return home on Thurs, for no particular reason. We sat down and made some menus, then packed up what we’d need.
We got a late start out of Bakersfield as the truck seemed to be presenting problems for which there seemed to be no fix. Fortunately, Joshua Tree is only a 4-hour drive, however, with afternoon traffic, it was a little over 5 hours.

It was really getting dark when we arrived at Joshua Tree and there are few lights in the area. We decided to go directly to the closest campground, thinking that we’d leave in the morning when we could find a better site.

We drove into the campground and up past the visitor center when the paved roads turned into partially paved and rutted roads. In the dark, we couldn’t tell if we were on a road or a trail.

We drove out from the rutted roads and onto the main road, not knowing where we were, and ending up outside of the park. We found a place to turn around and went back into the park taking the 1st site we saw.

Dale backed into the site, and we got out into freezing winds. After setting up the RV we looked around a bit. Dale yelled for me to come to where he was, there on the ground was a snake. In the light of our flashlight, it looked like it was a mid-size snake with its head up. Now we are not snake people at all, so had no idea what we were looking at, except to move out of the way. We were grateful for an RV and not just a sleeping bag on the ground.
In the morning we went outside, only to find the snake still there, still in the same position. Again, as we do not like snakes, we were uncertain. Dale found a stick and after poking it discovered that the snake was only a toy. We had a good laugh and suspect that whoever left it had a good laugh as well.

Posted by Miss Chris 06:52 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip wildlife nature driving camping snake rv outdoors joshua_tree_national_park Comments (0)

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