We have finally reached the destination that has been considered to be the highlight of the Alaska trip – Denali National Park.
We met some of the Roadtrek group for the dinner theater show about Fanny who came to Denali to prospect for gold in the early 1900’s. She never made it as a prospector but served meals from her tent to take care of the prospectors, which eventually became a the Roadhouse at Kantishna. The story told of her exploits and celebrated the frontier experience she lived. It was fun and gave you a feel for what life was like for those pioneers. Needless to say the salmon and BBQ pork ribs dinner was also good, being served family style. Kitty the barmaid gave kisses for a dollar and Janice had a lot of fun
giving her dollars and watching John turn red!!
We moved into the Riley campground on Tuesday, which is run by the National Park Service. The campsites were without services, but were very pleasant. The weather cooperated with good Alaska rain! Along with Hal, Kim, Peter, Bunny, Anne and Ruth we planned to have an international “pot luck” dinner. The group grew to include many of the Roadtrek people.
There were three tents that were set up to protect the food and people from the rain. The food was great and everyone had a great time. Special mention goes to Hal and Kim,
who spend several months a year at their apartment in Hungary. Hal made a fantastic Hungarian goulash with spaetzle. It had a great spicy flavor to it and we all want the recipe.
Bunny made Polish perogies with sour cream – great. Janice did her mother Jeanne’s mac and cheese, (come on it was international and America still is part of that.) Everyone stayed dry and the rain finally stopped for the group picture.
Tuesday morning we all moved out on the Park Road, which is a 90 mile road into the north side of Denali. There is a campsite 29 miles into the park called Teklanika. We all set up camp for the next three days to explore the park. This is the farthest point that private vehicles can travel into the park. Crossing one section a lot of vehicles were pulled over to the side for the caribou down in the riverbed. We could not see them, so continued on to the camp site. Benny protected us by watching for wild animals as we headed to Mile Marker 29, our campsite for the next 3 days. The National Park does such a great job with these camp sites and all that stay at them do their part to keep the areas neat and clean. We set up camp, pretty difficult when all you need to do is put out the awning and cover the picnic table-do we miss the times last summer when we had to put up the tent? NO WAY!!! The majority of the Roadtrek group was in the camp, so we joined them for hors d’oeurves and cocktails. It was a great way to meet a lot of people from various parts of the country.
We were scheduled for the 9:40 bus trip out the Park Road, but decided to get the first bus which was coming by the campsite at 6:20. Fortunately there was room on the bus and we started the adventure for the day. The buses are basically a standard school bus. We started out and would stop if the driver or one of the passengers saw any wildlife.
We got a clear view of the North side of Mt McKinley (lead page page) and it turned out we were the only people in the group that saw the mountain..another wonderful experience. Rather than writing much more, below are the pictures from the drive. It is truly a wonderful National Park.