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We Finally See Some of Mt. McKinley

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

semi-overcast 0 °F

I wake up and BLUE SKIES!!! I’m pleasantly surprised since it was still raining when we went to bed last night. We pack up and head for the bus with hopes of getting a ride to Wonder Lake. Our “Tek Pass” is for seats IF AVAILABLE on any bus west of the campground. The bus to Wonder Lake is full so we grab 3 seats on the Fish Creek bus, which will get us to within 3 miles of Eielson.

This is the view from our first stop on the bus at Teklanika rest stop:
We pass a sign that warns hikers that the area is closed due to wildlife (grizzly bears) -- the sign has been gnawled by bears :-)
And then drive through Polychrome pass area:

Our bus driver is very, very talkative and a lot of fun. Unfortunately, by the time we get to where we can see Mt. McKinley it has clouded up in front of the mountain :-( We’re still hoping to see the mountain today, so we get off the bus at Fish Creek and walk a couple miles to Eielson Visitor Center, which is still under construction. On the way we take a break for lunch and enjoy a wonderful view:

We then hike the trail up to the north of the Eielson visitor center.

The wildflowers are again wonderful! There are many dainty Forget-Me-Nots in this area:

If there were no clouds in the skies, we would have a wonderful view of Mt McKinley. We are seeing some breaks in the cloud. As we’re hiking up the trail, we see parts of the mountain, including a glimpse at the peak.


We didn't get the view of Mt. McKinley that we were hoping for, but it was a great view even without seeing all of McKinley.

We hike down the mountain and catch a bus to Wonder Lake. We see more and more of Mt McKinley as we travel to Wonder Lake, but never a completely unobstructed view. BUT at least we get to see most of the mountain.
Apparently it was out this morning – we talked to people who were on the bus that we wanted to take (but was full) and they said they had a great view. I really wish they hadn’t told us that.

Here's another great view of the area from the bus:

On the way back to the campground we see a moose very close to the road,
And then see a mama grizzly and 2 newborn cubs playing – very cute! And then we see something NOT so cute – a fox raiding a ptarmigan nest beside the road and snatching a couple of the baby ptarmigans. Mama and papa ptarmigan are very upset with the fox. The fox has several baby ptarmigans in his mouth and runs across the field with them. We're assuming that he is taking them back to his den, possibly to feed to his/her offspring.


We make several stops on the busride back to the campground, including one at the Toklat River, where Jere & Joe play around with the telescopes while looking at the Dall sheep on the hillside above the area.


One last picture of the view from the bus near Polychrome pass:

Here is a picture of the narrow one-lane road that the bus drives on, sometimes on the edge of the mountain:

We are tired by the time we get back to the campground around 6pm (we left around 7am), so we have dinner and then relax by the creek behind our campsite. Joe works on the dam he's been building and I take a picture of the snowshoe hare near the campsite:


A long day, but very enjoyable. We were hoping to get a good view of Mt. McKinley....didn't really get a great view of Mt McKinley, but we did see a lot of other beautiful scenery and wildlife.

Posted by jengelman 00:06 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

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