Riley Creek campground was nicer than I had really expected, with nice tree shaded campsites that were well spaced. (And hey- My cell phone is getting reception in Alaska! Though VERY limited internet access at Denali). We met up with our friend Becky, set up camp and, after visiting a bit - lots to catch up on - we all went off to explore.
This is Becky on the Savage River Trail.
Getting around in Denali can be a bit tricky. The visitor’s center and several hiking trail are right by the entrance and close to the campground. The road into the park, beyond this, is only open to cars for the first 15 miles (to Savage River, which we hiked on Monday). Beyond that, you have to take a shuttle bus or tour bus to get to see the other areas of Denali. On Tues, Fred and I took the Kantishna tour, which is a 12 hour tour on a bus going to the end of the park road – 90 miles. (Kantishna was a gold mining camp in the early 1900’s.) All along the way, the bus stopped for photo –ops and wildlife viewing. More on this in another post…….
One of the main activities at Denali seems to be trying to catch a glimpse of Mt. McKinley (the Native name for this Mt. was Denali – the great one). Mt McKinley lies 70 miles from the entrance of the park and is North America’s tallest mountain at 20,320 feet. It can only be seen from certain viewpoints, and is only visible about 1/3 of the time due to clouds. We were lucky over our visit – we saw “the mountain” both Mon. and Tues.
These are views of Mt. McKinley’s snow covered north and south peaks.
Of course, there is much more to Denali than just Mt. McKinley. There are wide, U-shaped valleys created by glaciers……….
The glaciers leave behind gravel that forms large creek beds where the creeks and rivers flow across in “braids”.
There are rugged hillsides and rocks, and beautiful lakes……… This is Wonder Lake- far into the park.
There are, also, very nice Visitor's centers with lots of good information …..
…….and some very beautiful art work.
This wall hanging is a quilt made by the wife on a long term ranger at the park. It depicts Denali through the seasons.
These are antlers from a moose and a caribou on display.
This display shows the two sets of moose antlers – the moose were battling it out and locked antlers and could not get loose. Both suffered mortal wounds and died – forever locked together. Sad….poetic…tragic…a lesson here?…. I’m not sure which.