White water rafting down Nenana River, Denali
After having seen Denali by land and air, we rafted down a 22.5 mile stretch of the Nenana (rhymes with banana..so fun to say) River which runs along the eastern border of the park. The Nenana is glacier-fed, meaning ~24 hours before it arrived at the stretch we were riding down, the water was ice. Nothing more refreshing than a face-full of glacier water first thing in the morning! Luckily, we were well-outfitted. I had on everything in my suitcase (anyone who knows me, knows this is not an exaggeration), plus they gave us full-body dry suits to pull on over everything else. I had a smile frozen to my face the whole time. Such an amazing experience. Made even better by the world’s best guide, Tim. He not only let me “ride the bull” (sat on very front of raft with feet dangling over water and rode rapids), but he also treated us to a very well-delivered, well-timed rendition of a song from Charlie and the Chocolate factory as we cruised down Train Wreck Rapid. Check out video clip!!
Scenery on bus trip through Denali
We took a 90 mile bus trip from the park entrance to the small mining community of Kantishna, which lies within the park. The bus meandered along a very curvy..and sometimes nerve racking..road through the park. We crossed several passes with dramatic views, but the highlights of the journey for me were the animals. We saw a Moose, Dall sheep, Caribou, and a mama Grizzly with her two cubs.
Denali “Welcome” Sign
Arrived at one of the most wild and wonderful places I have ever been..Denali National Park and Preserve. The park is the size of the state of Massachusettes (over 6 million acres), and the rugged terrain is unmarred by man. Access around the park is highly restricted with only authorized vehicles being able to travel the roads and NO vehicles of any sort allowed off the road. The vastness and natural beauty is overwhelming, and wildlife runs the show. The “crown jewel” is Mt. McKinley, the highest peak in north America (20,237 feet). The area is very seasonal, but the “characters” who flock there for the summer add a unique/quirky edge to the area. Dad and I fit right in 🙂 See posts on bus trip, flight, and whitewater for pics of park.
Packing up this morning and heading to Denali National Park for 3 nights of camping. Not sure what Internet connection will be like there, so may be “off the grid” again for a few days. Next stop after that is Anchorage. Will be back in blogging action there.
Top of the World Highway
Traveled from Dawson City, Yukon Territory to Alaska via the Top of the World highway. I got to enjoy the spectacular scenery (and crazy drop offs) while Dad (driving) white knuckled it. Think his insistence on driving had something to do with my driving skills, but didn’t mind soaking up the view 🙂 We were sky high and there were no stretches that qualified as straight (or smooth- most of road was unpaved). We had the highway to ourselves, which was great considering the width of the road in places..and that fact that guard rails were non-existent!!
Ferry crossing Yukon River
We “cruised” across the mighty Yukon River and into Alaska on the one year anniversary of the night we sat at the Mellow Mushroom in Columbia and dreamed up this adventure. I’m sure the novelty wears off quickly if it is part of your daily routine, but I felt like a little kid..ferry rides are fun!
Front Street, Dawson City, Yukon Territory
Dawson “City”, Yukon Territory. This town oozes history. You can feel the ghost of the gold rush era everywhere you turn.