Saturday, August 21, 2010

Tundra Wilderness Tour

At 2:00 PM on Thursday we were picked up by a Denali Park bus at our hotel. The driver was a young man named Tom Richards with degrees in wilderness management, experience at Denali and Yellowstone. He has been driving tours for 11 years. For the next 8 1/2 hours he led our group on a 6 hour tour of the park!

Simply stated it was beyond belief. In addition to the incredible vistas we encountered a tremendous variety of wildlife....we only took 532 pictures so, we might have to pick and choose what we post!

Leaving the hotel for our adventure.... It was a chilly 52 degrees...


















As we entered the park on the tan Thomas bus, we were told to be on the lookout for ground squirrels and hares because not every tour sees bears and moose. Nothing could be farther from our experience.


















Almost immediately we spotted a moose grazing in a pasture...




















And then we spotted a bull caribou and then hurds of caribou getting ready for the rutting season. Several bulls with huge antlers gathered their hurds together.











































The Alaska State Bird is the Ptarmigan..So of course we came across two on the side of the road!









































This was an adventure with even bears and bear cubs... one set were so intent on filling up with soapberries that they did not even notice that the bus was stopped not less than 40 feet away. These are wild bears who may see an occasional bus but do not have any interaction with people....

























And to make it an even more perfect day, we saw some Dall's Sheep. The protection of this high altitude species was the original reason for the establishment of the Denali National Park. Dall's Sheep are a white-haired wild sheep, Ovis dalli, of mountainous regions of northwestern North America, having curved horns. Origin: 1905–10; named after William H. Dall (1845–1927), American naturalist.


Some even got close enough to photograph...

















More of the Tundra Wilderness on part 2...





Location:Denali National Park

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