Drive to Denali NP
We left Fairbanks at 7:30 this morning. Overcast skies. After a stop for gas we were headed south. We didn’t make it to the Arctic Circle but the only thing there is a sign. We did manage to experience 21 hours of true daylight and 3 hours of twilight in a day. Darkness? What’s that?
The whole morning was rain, fog (cloud), drizzle. Good road with little traffic. Just wet. We got to RV park a little after 11:00. The rain started to let up as we got settled in.
Had lunch and then off to Denali NP to reserve bus trip into park. Here as with a number of places so far we found that we were just a few days early. The very early bus trips start (better for wildlife viewing) start in three days as do the full slate of ranger programs. We got the early bus for tomorrow and there are still many things to do and see without the whole lineup. While we were getting our bus tickets the ticket lady mentioned that the sled dog demo would be starting in about 25 minutes. We hustled up to the visitor center to find out about that. We were told to go out in front of the center, look down, and follow the trail of dog paw prints painted on the ground to the shuttle bus. Did that and ended up at the bus depot where we boarded the shuttle for the ten minute ride to the kennel. Thankfully the rain was gone and sun was working its way out. Large kennel with about 30 dogs individually housed. We all admired the dogs for a while and chatted with the handlers.
Then a presentation on the dogs and how they are used in the park followed by a demo of a small team pulling a sled followed by questions and photo ops.
Then back on shuttle to visitor center.
The dogs in the park are different than those we saw in Fairbanks. The park dogs are workers. In the winter they are used to pull freight and patrol the back country (which is pretty much all the park). The dogs in Fairbanks are race dogs. Smaller and more lanky. A handler here used the analogy of comparing race dogs to work dogs as being like a marathon runner compared to a football player.
We walked the exhibits in the visitor center and then drove the park road as far as private vehicles can go (15 miles). There is a spot where you are supposed to be able to see Mt. McKinley (way off in the distance) but there was too much cloud cover that direction.
McKinley in in the clouds behind this peak.
Pretty country though.