Today we took the 8 hour bus trip through Denali National Park. The only way you can see the park is by bus. They do not let the public drive through unless you have a reserved camping spot in the park. Once you are camped you will have to take a shuttle/tour bus to venture out.
At 6 million acres, the park is larger than Massachusetts. It is undeveloped wilderness. No multi million dollar homes, ski slopes, golden arches or gift shops. The expansive landscape is habitat of large caribou, moose and grizzly bears. We hope to see all of them. The major goal was to see Mount McKinley. It is not visible until you are at least 40 miles into the park. It is so high is can make it's own weather and is only visible periodically. Only 25% of tourist get a glimpse of it. We left at 6:30 am. We woke up to sunshine and had high hopes. Our fear was that we may have gone too early and not given the clouds time to break.
We saw glaciers, caribou, wolves, grizzlies (from a long distance) as we drove through. When we got to the point where Mt. McKinley should be visible all we saw was clouds. A few minutes later there was a small break in the clouds and we could see the North Peak. We drove up to the final point where we should get a full view and walked around. The clouds broke up and we got to see the mountain. Although we only saw the two major peaks and did not get a glimpse of the whole mountain, we are claiming VICTORY!
We will leave Denali tomorrow and head toward Anchorage. We have no agenda for the next few weeks. Just heading to the peninsula.