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

Taken at 11:15pm from our RV

Our first glimpse of the great Denali

The Tanana River basin along the Parks Highway

A rare clear view of Denali (just a small cloud at top)

We finally got a photo of a moose (our 4th spotting)

Iceworm Gulch along the highway not far from our camp

Day 36, Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I took a picture last night out of the bus window at 11:15 last night with the sun shining brightly on the campground. We changed our plans this morning at the gas station and decided to go to Denali National Park instead of Paxson. (Don’t worry Cooper, we are planning something else for when you come.) It made more sense and will cause less back tracking later. Viewpoints along the highway showed us Minta Flats again (from the other side) and the Tanana River valley. The Alaska Range is in the distance and very surprisingly, we could clearly see Denali/Mt. McKinley. It is the highest mountain in North America at 20,320 feet. When we were here with the kids in 2001, we never got a glimpse of the mountain. It was always covered in clouds. Mountains that high create their own weather so actually seeing Denali was a treat. We are staying at the Denali RV Park a little north of the Park. For once, we are in a back corner all by ourselves and have a little breathing room without people right in our windows. There is a mountain right behind us and a view of more mountains across the highway. Blueberry bushes are growing wild back here in our corner.

They don’t allow cars in the Park past the first fifteen miles. You can either take a tour bus with a guide or take a shuttle bus that you can get off and on when you want. We made reservations for Friday on a shuttle. They open sections of the Park in stages. Friday is the first day of the expanded access and it will be an 8 hour round trip. Today we drove that first 15 miles anyway and were rewarded by a moose that didn’t run away. We finally got a picture. Inside the Park, we could no longer see Denali. It was covered by clouds again. We pulled into a turnout where a seagull was sitting. He never moved until we pulled right up next to him. I was looking out the window and asked Rob where he went. As I was asking, he landed right on the hood of the car, and then hopped up on the roof. As we drove off, he flew back to the same place where he was to begin with. I think he was just pissed we took his spot. On our way back, we ate some yummy pizza in town and stopped at a frozen creek that is starting to break up. We could see blue ice in the cracks. We will stay here for four nights. Day trip somewhere tomorrow.

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