Sunday, June 24, 2012

The "real Alaska" part 5- Denali Tundra Wilderness Tour

Our visit to Denali was wonderful We all had such a great time and wonderful warm weather to boot! A and I both now want to move to the real Alaska, we might freeze in the inter but at least we would warm up in the summer!

We stayed at the McKinley Village Lodge and on Friday we took the Tundra Wilderness Tour. It is an 8 hour round trip ride on a bus down the only road in the 6 million miles of park. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable and we were able to catch glimpses of moose, bear, caribou, fox, and big horn sheep (although those were to far away for me to snap a good pic of. But all the rest we saw up close and personal...and even better we saw 9 bears! 3 moms, and 6 cubs.

I am definitely hoping to be able to visit again one day and bring my mom with. I know she would love this!
 We had to be on the bus at 6:15am, but the early wake up was worth it, when 5 mins into our trip we saw a mom and baby moose enjoying breakfast not 20ft from the side of the bus.

 If you look closely you will see that the trees here actually lean a bit. This is called the "drunken forest" and it is cause from the soil on top of the permafrost slowly sliding.
 Our first sight of Denali, a beautiful and clear morning.

 This little guy ran right up to the bus.

 It was so beautiful and untouched!

 Dwarfing the surrounding mountains, the great one rises up 20,320ft. The tallest mountain in North America.

 The first of many caribou we saw that day.
 
 It was a warm day and the most of the caribou we saw had decided to cool off in the few remaining snow patches.


 The turn around spot on our tour. Just a majestic view. Pictures do not do it justice.


 More caribou following the snow.


 We spotted this set of bear on the hills side pretty far away from our bus, but just a few minutes later we got the sight of a lifetime, with a bear family just feet away from the side of the road.






Denali offers several different excursions, this is the second to longest one. The longest is a 12 hour round trip! But this was spectacular and the chance to see these animals up close was well worth the long drive. I was amazed at how well A did...and I think everyone on the bus was as well. She was the youngest on the bus by at least 13 years LOL, but she enjoyed it every bit as much as we did.

Right now I am sitting in the Anchorage airport waiting to catch our flight to Dutch, but don't worry, I am not done with posting vacation pics yet. Stay tuned for dog sledding, 4-wheeling, and more train ride fun!

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