Animals in Denali National Park
(Posted August 26, 2000, Herbert E. Lindberg)

Ha! Ha! This is joke. The thumbnail on the Alaska Hub Page is a cutout of grass from a typical home yard along the Tanana river. The complete yard picture with their river toys is shown below:

Large lawn and river toys at Tanana River home

Why the joke? Because there are no pictures of animals in Denali National Park. From the Tauck brochure, Day 5 was a ".. six-to-eight hour tour deep into the park's interior on a specifically geared vehicle." Well, the "specifically geared vehicle" was an old school bus with a speaker system added so the driver could talk to us for the full seven hours. We bounced along the partially paved road for seven hours with our knees jammed up against the seat in front of us.

Periodically, when someone spotted an animal off in the distance, the driver would stop to let the rest of us see it, usually over the heads of people on the other side of the bus. Typically, the animals were white (Dall sheep) or brown (grizzly bears) spots that could be detected only with binoculars. On the whole trip we spotted only two groups of sheep and two bears, and while we were leaving the home-base buildings, a moose scrounging food on the side of the road. The closest views of animals were of caribou, one of which trotted down the road in front of the bus.

The views of tundra and examples of the limited species of plants and trees in this severe climate were much more interesting. However, I have no pictures of these because the bus never stopped where the viewing was good. The two rest stops were in baren areas not typical of the park. We saw hikers along the way and I looked longingly at them, wishing the tour hand planned a day of hiking instead of seven hours of butt numbing bus riding.

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