Mt McKinely or Denali, you decide!

Trip Start Mar 04, 2005
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135
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Trip End Dec 31, 2014


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Where I stayed
Riversedge RV Park

Flag of United States  , Alaska
Monday, July 18, 2011

We had two great days in the Trapper Creek area and moved on down the road to Riversedge RV Park on Saturday, July 16th.  This campground is rated the best of the ones in the area and met our needs.  It was nothing fancy, electricity was provided by a large on site generator and they had water hookups.  It rained pretty much every day we were here and the sites turned into medium sized lakes and large mud puddles.  It was also quite windy ( could have been that we were on a bluff above the river ) and we never did manage to have our evening cocktail hour - guess we are fair weather 'drinkers'! 

Now for some history on this National Park.  Denali, the "High One" is the name the Athabascan native people gave the massive peak that crowns the 600-mile long Alaska Range.  In 1897 prospector William A. Dickey named the mountain after President William McKinley, hoping to curry favor for the gold standard.  McKinley never set foot in Alaska and never saw the mountain that carries his name. 

In 1917 Mt McKinely National Park was created.  The park was enlarged and renamed Denali National Park  in 1980.  Locals insist on calling the park & the mountain Denali rather than McKinley.  And we have taken to doing the same thing! 

The park has limited vehicle access.  In fact, you can only drive your personal vehicle to milepost 15 from there you have to take either a shuttle bus or tour bus.  We opted for the tour bus and took the 8 hour "Tundra Wilderness Tour".  This tour would take us about 60 miles into the park during which we would see 10 grizzly bears - one of them up close & personal - along with numerous caribou, dall sheep, moose and a coyote.  It was an excellent tour with an excellent driver/guide.  ( if you ever find yourself up here ask for Bill Watkins as your guide....)

Besides the tour we spent time visiting the dog sled kennels, did some shopping 'in town' and took a very nice walk between the storms along the banks of the Savage River.  If we hadn't seen "the Mountain" when we were in Trapper Creek we would have been numbered in the over 75% we never see it!!  Lucky for us we had given ourselves 5 days in the area....
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