Alaska Ride – June 16th – Day #22

We get to ride through the park today! We left about 8:15a to catch our 9a shuttle. We stopped at the store on the way to pick up snacks and drinks since none were provided on our bus. We had opted for the least expensive option – the bus is supposed to shuttle you to various locations in the park, and will stop for wildlife. Well, our driver Craig, was awesome. He narrated the entire ride. I would highly recommend his bus.

This is the only portion of the trip that I wish I had my Canon camera. The 100-400 lens would have been awesome for many of the shots, but as you’ll see, it may not have been wide enough for some of the closer animals.

Taking pictures from the bus was a bit of a challenge. Half the time, the animals were not on your side of the bus, so you are leaning around people and trying not to get any of the window frame in the picture. The windows weren’t exactly clean, so I had to switch to manual focus quite a bit or the camera would focus on the dirty window.. On many of the occasions that the window was clean, there would be reflections on the glass that would show up in the picture. All that being said, it was still and awesome trip and I got a few good pictures.

The first hour or so of the tour was through some fairly thick forest, and we didn’t see any wildlife. At this point, we stopped at a rest area for a bathroom break and I got a picture of our bus.DSC03342-2

Shortly after our rest break, we went past a bunch of Dall Sheep in the hills. All the little white spots on the hill are sheep. I zoomed in on them on the computer and they aren’t that clear.

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Our first grizzly! A mom with two cubs. They were pretty far away, this picture is at 200mm and cropped. We figured that this was about as close as we’d get to a bear on the trip…boy were we wrong.

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The views from the road were absolutely spectacular for most of the day. Unfortunately Mount McKinley was obscured by clouds most of the day, we only got to see the north peak. The park service claims that only 30% of visitors actually get to see the mountain.

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Approaching the next rest area, there was a griz right next to the road. I couldn’t get him to look over at me, so the shots aren’t as good as they could be.

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He got so close that I didn’t have to have my lens zoomed all the way.

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We also saw quite a few caribou.

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Right before our turnaround point at the next visitor center, another Grizzly was right next to the road. This one was a little more camera friendly. There are several shots in this group that I may consider printing and hanging on the wall at home.

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Our turnaround point. This is the view of Mount McKinley while we were there.

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On the way back there were some Caribou cooling down on some snow.

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Passed another Grizzly with a couple of cubs.

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Got a little closer to some Dall Sheep – this is a crop of a bigger picture.

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Almost all the way done and we finally saw a moose. I didn’t get any good poses from it.

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Overall, Denali is a very cool park. I would definitely recommend a visit on an Alaska adventure.

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2 comments

  1. Carter and Gavin saw a video about how to make light sabers in Photoshop. They want to give the bear a light saber now. (they thought all the animal photos were really cool as well – but that is what you get when you ask a 5-year old what he wants to say 🙂 )

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