Monday, July 13, 2015, Denali National Park, AK, Day 2 - 0 Miles Today, 5251.9 Miles for the Trip
The bus ride through the park is one of the primary reasons we decided to camp at Denali (that and wanting to see the mountain, but you can do that from outside the park. Like many of the national parks, they limit driving on the park road, at least past mile 15 unless you are camping. The last two campgrounds, Igloo Creek & Wonder Lake do not allow cars - you must take the camper bus (a bus that has room at the back for gear). I can understand why they don't allow cars. The hairpin turns on the very narrow one lane road require skilled driving & like all national parks, they want to keep it as close to nature as possible.
The 8:45 bus arrived at the campground around 10:00. When you stay at a campground and purchase bus tickets, they save enough seats so there is room for you when the bus gets to the campground. There is another 60 miles of gravel road past the campground. It gets much narrower; the buses have to stop to let on coming buses squeeze by. Our driver was Sheryl Paxton, who did a wonderful job of describing the things around us as well as pointing out animals along the way. We saw Grizzly Bears, Caribou, Hares, Moose, Golden Eagles, Gyrfalcons, Ptarmigans and others. A long ride with many stops to take photos of the animals. Many of mine are very soft - they were often long distances from the road requiring enlarging even with an 80 - 400mm zoom lens, and many were shot through the bus windows. More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.
We arrived back at the campground around 7:30 in light rain and quickly set up the EasyUp over the picnic table. Dinner was a grilled ham steak, mashed potatoes and applesauce.