Rob and Syd's Western Canada and Alaska trip 2012 travel blog

One of the many caribou we saw

One of a herd of about 10 dall sheep just off the...

Our first grizzlies (3 at once)

Yes there is still ice/snow all around

Sydney and I at the turn around point Eielson Visitor center

We think the same 3 grizzlies we saw earlier now bedding down

What we thought was 1 grizzly is actually two (mating)

The last 2 of our 7 sighted grizzlies

Couldn't resist adding this one since he poised so nice.

Day 38, Friday, June 1, 2012

It started raining at 5:30 this morning. We got up early and packed our food and water to last through the day because there is nothing inside the Park. Our shuttle was scheduled to leave at 8:00 and it was full. This is the first day for the extended tours. Yesterday, they only went 29 miles. Today we went 66 miles. Next week it will open another 24 miles to the end of the road (90 miles total). There is only one road inside the park and few marked trails and they don’t go far. The road is a lane and a half of dirt and gravel. Sometimes there was a straight 1,000 ft drop off with no guard rails. (Haven’t we been there before?) Weather wise, we started with rain, continued with snow and ended with drizzle. Clouds were low and the snow was sticking to what parts of the mountains we could see. We sat in the front seat behind the driver. Good news is that we could see out the front window and get up and take pictures from the door. Bad news is that my seat was over the wheel well and by the end of the 8 hour drive I thought I was crippled. We spotted two moose within the first few miles. Later there was a herd of Dall sheep right along the road. Whenever we stop to look at something, the entire bus gets up and leans to that side trying to see. It’s a wonder the whole bus doesn’t tilt right over the edge. Rob’s a good spotter. He saw most of the stuff first and told the driver to stop. We finally saw our first grizzly bears, a family group of three up on a hill. Probably a mom and two almost grown cubs. Cubs stay with their moms about 3 winters and then go on their own in their fourth spring. The next grizzly bear was further away on a hill across the river valley. It was dark colored with a lighter head. (When we got home and looked at the pictures on the computer, we could clearly see there were actually two heads. A darker bear and a lighter bear. And they were clearly making whoopee over there. It was so funny.)

We ended up at the Eielson Visitor Center where we ate our lunch and then got back on the bus and came back. They were doing an hour long ranger walk but it was really too cold. We couldn’t really get out and do any walking around. The high was only about 42 with a wind chill well below that. I’m not that tough. All together we saw seven grizzlies, two moose, a lot of Dall sheep and caribou, and several willow ptarmigans. We just got back to camp when the rain really let loose again. It rained steady for about three hours and it’s still coming down more lightly. Sunset is at 12:09 tonight. Sunrise is around 3:30 am. Tomorrow, I have no idea right now. We’ll see.

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