Denali National Park

Denali National Park Travel Blog

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Up early once again and in the bus by 9:00. The first leg was about 2 hours on a tour bus to Denali National Park and the Denali Princess Lodge. The driver was from New Zealand and was funny as hell; typical dry Kiwi humor. It was a bright day again so, unfortunately, the wildlife was in hiding. We were dropped off at the Denali Princess to pickup the tour of the National Park. This hotel does not appear to be nearly as nice as the McKinley Princess. Things here are terribly jammed together and it's crowded as hell. Some rooms overlook the river but many look over the bus staging and loading area. Yuck!! I'd have been very unhappy if we'd stayed here. We walked off the grounds to a pizza place and had a pretty lousy buffet.

After checking out the hotel, we boarded a school bus for a 3-hour tour of the National Park. The driver, Taminy, was quite nice. Again, the brightness of the day kept the wildlife down. We did see a caribou and a ptarmigan but that was it! The absence of wildlife was the only true disappointment I had of the entire trip but I guess that's the price we paid for nice weather.

After the park tour, Taminy delivered us to the train station. This was one time Princess really blew it logistically. The station was crowded as hell with not only Princess people but also passengers from Holland America and Alaska RR. While there was a special area for Princess passengers, divided by car number, signage was lacking and no one told us to go there until I asked. It was a real zoo and, of course, the train was late. Obviously, the train schedule isn't Princess' issue but a little better instruction would have been good. I will say that, when they finally did begin giving us info, Princess had a PA system and the Holland America people were yelling to the passengers! When it came time to board, the procedure was pretty chaotic; I think they have work to do. I was pretty smoked by the time we got on the train.

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Denali National Park
photo by: Vikram