Denali

Trip Start Aug 24, 2007
1
19
47
Trip End Oct 08, 2007


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Flag of United States  , Alaska
Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Today was an early start, aboard a bus to go into Denli National Park and Wilderness Park.    I didn't realise, until I heard someone ask why the flags were at half mast that it was 9/11 and that was the only reference I heard all day which I found surprising.   It was an 8 hour tour on the only road in and out of the Park.  Everything taken in must be taken out and they were very conscious of the need to preserve it as a wilderness and yet people were able to access it for hiking and recreation.  You would have to know what you were doing out there alone as bears, wolves and moose frequent the area.  We saw a snowshoe hare which was changing colour to white for winter beginning at the ears, with feet as big as its body.  We saw a moose in the distance.  We saw two lots of grizzly bears with big cubs.  The bears were busily foraging for berries to fatten up before they hibernate.  We saw two wolves crossing the river quite close to the bus, also a squirrel.  It was a dusty road and the countryside was very pretty as the aspin and birch trees were yellow - changing and loosing their leaves for winter - amongst the green of the conifers - spruce, I think.  The moose exist here eating the willow branches.  There is foliage on the lower parts up to the tree line where the bears forage in the bushes for berries etc. Then the next level were the vast smooth rocks covered in lichen and moss in reds, greens, yellow and white on which the Dall's Sheep live.  These sheep are the only white wild sheep and only exist in Denali park and are the symbol for the Denali Reserve.  They are only white dots on the mountain side.  Inside the bus were monitors which were connected to the telescopic camera that the bus driver had, so he was able to show us close up views of the various animals.    Then higher still are the eroded, rounded, desolate mountains that have various lines and stratas of colour and minerals going through them as they are eroded.  The tundra was entirely different to what I expected.  Gold was one of the few reasons why people came to these regions.  The rivers which are very young are braided as they are so full of the glacier flour or silt that has been grounded from the mountains that they spread out very wide and the water finds its own many ways through the silt.  Most of the rivers are sterile - none or very little fish life.
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