On Saturday, Aug 4th, our first full day in Denali, we boarded a tour bus for the Kantishna Experience. This is a 12 hour bus ride which takes you down into the park for the full 90 miles of graveled park road and back. It is a long day, but the only way to get all the way into the heart of Denali.
All along the drive, we kept our eyes out for animals….especially bears.
We spotted this first bear just past the Teklanika bridge.
The brown bears, called grizzlies at Denali, are smaller than the brown coastal bears that we had seen at Katmai. In comparison, the grizzlies are on average 500-800 lbs., where the coastal bears weigh 800 – 1200 lbs. The difference is due, mainly to diet. The coastal bears eat a lot of salmon, a very fat and protein rich diet. The grizzlies depend more on vegetation and berries and smaller animals like the ground squirrel.
I was surprised at how blond their coloring was. We were told that this is the more typical color for the Denali bears.
The second bear that we saw was darker. It was walking right down the road and passed right by our bus…unfortunately, on the wrong side for me to get a good picture……
This was a good day for bear sightings….we saw this third bear just up on the hill….
And a fourth bear further in the distance.
We saw other animals, and, of course, some very beautiful landscapes on our bus tour. I thought that I would include in this post one other bear sighting that we had…
We watched this mom and cubs as we were coming back from our ranger led hike on Monday.
The cubs were sooo cute! The mom had wandered up ahead of them, and when they noticed how far behind they were, they stood up……looked a bit panicked…and scooted to catch up! Moms and kids….. ;- )