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Tag Archives: Denali

We enjoyed lots of wildlife watching while in Denali. Here are a few of the smaller animals.

A lot of images of one type of bird, I know. You should see all the ones I left out. It was a new bird for my life list and being a grouse, it was very amenable to having its photo made. We saw only one female and several males and all of them on the edge of the roads. And aren’t they just the cutest? This is their breeding plumage. In the winter, they are pure white.

The sled dogs are one of the more popular attractions at Denali National Park. Since much of the park is wilderness and off limits to motorized travel, they use sled dogs to get to the more remote areas in the winter. It was almost the beginning of the summer season when we were there and they were starting the daily programs, showing the dogs pulling a wheeled cart around a track. It was a short program and we were late. Something about a bear as I recall. We enjoyed walking around and getting to know the dogs. Some were open to being petted too. Did you know sled dogs are especially bred to have long fluffy tails so they can keep warm when sleeping outside in the winter? I was surprised at the diversity of appearances in the individual dogs.

60° is kind of warm for sled dogs.

Our next stop was Denali National Park. We are ever so grateful to a friend who loaned us her family cabin just eight miles from the park entrance! It sits atop a bluff overlooking the Nenana River with the park’s mountains in the distance. All of the rivers in that region flow north into the Yukon drainage. It took us a while to get used to rivers flowing north. We thought we were seeing quite a bit of Alaska but when you consider just how big the Yukon watershed is and also there is still more Alaska north of that, you begin to realize just how little we actually did see.

The cabin was cozy and comfy and the views were sufficiently awesome that we probably could have stayed there and been perfectly comfortable. However, there was the national park and we did go see it, everyday we were there. The trees in the park are primarily spruce and birch with a few others. Much of the landscape seemed like barren tundra. We were there early in the season and it had not started to green up. The aspens and birches leafed out while we were there.

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