Sunday, August 17, 2008

Coming home to find the real wildlife

Grace and greetings.

We went north to the Denali National Park for a couple of days. The drive was a little longer than I had remembered it, about five hours. But for once, I had planned ahead and we had a hotel reservation waiting for the three of us. The hotel was north of the Park in Healy. I had spent a summer there some odd many years ago working for the Alaska Railroad. Of course, I could not recognize one thing from the time I was there. After driving around a little bit, we returned back to the Park where all the travel agencies had build up the place and many a tourist traps lay about. We found a place to eat dinner then returned to the hotel for the night. 

The next morning, we got up and took a tour of the National Park. There are only certain times and circumstances you can drive your own personal car into the Park. You can drive into the Park if you are staying in one of the several camping spots within the first ten miles; the other way to drive you own car in is to win the annual lottery. For two weeks in September, the Park will pick 40 parties to drive their own car into the Park. So we did not qualify for the car lottery, so we took one of the tours. They have several tour buses leaving throughout the day. There are a couple of tours that only have one or two buses, because they go completely into the farthest part of the Park, a 12 or 15 hour round trip. We took the 8 hour that did not go as far into the Park as I wanted, but I knew that my wife and son would not want to go any longer. 

The buses have a couple of planned rest stops, and will stop for any wild life that is seen along the way. Also, the buses will stop to let people out any where that is open to hike or camp, except in closed off areas due to known wolf dens and other places where the young could be endangered by human contact. The hikers/campers just need to flag down another bus at another time to continue further into the Park or to return. 

For our trip, we saw some caribou, bears and Dahl Sheep for the large animals; saw a few golden eagles and other wild life as well. We ended up on one of the 12 or so days that had actual sunlight for the majority of the day this summer. Headed back to our hotel after dinner and checked out for the drive back to Anchorage. 

Once arriving in Anchorage, we found out that we missed out on the wild life here in Anchorage. A black bear found its way into my parent's garage and the dog treats they keep around for the neighborhood dogs. While reaching for the dog treats on top of the refrigerator, the bear knocked over a jar of beets and splattered beet juice all over, probably scaring the bear out of the garage, with the beet juice bear prints for evidence. Needless to say, the garage door has not been left open for the last few days. 

We have some family gathering for a meal, so I am going to join the fun down stairs...

Peace and blessings.

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