Friday, July 20, 2012

On to Fairbanks

On the 10th we went on the flight around Mt McKinley that we had reserved. We had signed up for a long flight, but no glacier landing at Base Camp. Because all the other customers had signed up for a glacier landing, we were just upgraded. It was a pretty good day for a flight as it was only partly cloudy. I wish I had been able to enjoy it, but with a cold/flu the whole experience ranged between lost to unpleasant. I managed to take a picture of Ruth Glacier.

We landed at base camp at 7,200 feet. This is the first of five camps for those who climb Mt McKinley. I do look like death warmed over in this picture. William was holding me up.

William took a few pictures of the cliffs surrounding Base Camp. Mt McKinley is the far snow capped peak in this picture.

We spent 3 nights, Monday the 9th until Thursday the 12th, at the Talkeetna Camper Park. We were only ½ mile stroll from “downtown” Talkeetna. Lots of gift stores and Nagley's General Store. Nagley's was a tiny store with items stocked from the ceiling to the floor. Best to ask for what you want. They even had an upstairs that came close to the lovely hardware store in Skagway for variety, just on a smaller scale.

Leaving Talkeetna, heading to Denali, we stopped to visit Paula who used to work for Frank. She and her husband have a lovely house on 5 acres at Trapper Creek. It is a log home that has been upgraded and has really nice burl posts across the front. She has worked hard at getting acquainted and is on the council representing Trapper Creek. The town has a nice entrance sign now thanks to her.

We spent time outside Denali and three nights at Teklanika Campground on the park road inside the park from the 14th to the 17th. We took the bus trip for a couple of hours into the Eielson Visitor Center on the 15th. To cut down on traffic in the park you just take the bus in most of the way. The bus would stop whenever the driver or passengers would spot an animal. They were mostly up on the tundra hillsides. The adult grizzlies we saw were golden in color. Good thing Bill had his good binoculars. One bear was eating something that had been alive. They are fond of ground squirrels and dig mighty holes to catch them. Two twin cubs were play fighting. One was golden and the other was brown. Only the caribou were close enough for a picture.
At Toklat Ranger Station

William the caribou

Grizzly food running around at Eielson Visitor Center

These moose locked horns fighting and died locked up

Dwarf Fireweed

headed out on the tundra

Eielson Visitor Center nested into the hillside

roadside caribou

At the park we went for a short ranger hike.
Between the ranger hike and hiking around Teklanika on moose trails we saw quite a few wild flowers common to the tundra. We saw only birds and ground squirrels. Old Tripod, the three legged grizzly, was not around.
hiking around Teklanika

On our way back to the entrance visitor center complex from Teklanika on the 17th we spotted this lovely low rainbow.
Low ground mist rainbow

We wandered through the dog kennels before heading toward Fairbanks. No Snow Machines in Denali. All winter park patrolling is done by dog team.

The only tourist thing we have done in Fairbanks so far is go to the World Eskimo Indian Olympics yesterday the 19th. My favorite events so far were the blanket toss and the muktuk eating contest. Muktuk is a chunk of whale blubber and skin. Sharp knife or ulu required. Salt not allowed. We were told that early explorers died of scurvy rather than eat muktuk. Muktuk would have saved their lives as it is high in vitamin C.
3 ounce serving of Muktuk

Ulu at the ready, first one done is the winner

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