September 16th, 2009 – by: Hummingbird
The large fireplace in the main lodge.
We were up about 7 this morning, because we had a bus tour into Denali National Park to learn the history of the park and see as many wild animals as possible. Our tour began at 8:30. We headed down for a quick bite to eat and were soon on the bus.
The only road the runs into the park is not paved, due to the permafrost. Its just too hard to maintain a paved road in those conditions, so the road is a fine gravel and really not as bumpy or rough as most gravel roads are. Of course it doesn’t get all that much traffic. The tour guide driver told us that everyday she was able to point our wildlife and gave a very good narration about the history of the National Park while driving slowly into the tundra.
Now in that region, trees if any are stunted due also to the permafrost and very few survive, so its pretty open land with a few bushes. But the only animals we saw, or she pointed out, were about two miles off on a mountain side and looked like little white golf balls. She said they were Dall sheep. We did get to see a female moose about a quarter of a mile away, but only if she moved, which she didn’t do much. She was feeding on a bush. Roger got a couple of pictures, so you can judge for yourselves. Those were the only animals we saw the whole time, very disappointing. And that evening back at the lodge we heard from several people that they had taken the longer eight hour tour which goes deeper into the park that they got to see the “Big Five”, a moose (preferably a large male), caribou (both male and female have antlers), Dall sheep, a wolf, and grizzly bear.
Looking to one end of the main lodge.
Lunch was a treat.
As I mentioned, the Subway sandwich shop closed last night and today they were nailing up plywood over the windows, so we had to rethink our idea for something to eat. The only other place, other than the expensive Princess places, was the deli up at the end of the street. It was a market, liquor store and deli combined and when we looked we noticed the sign that said “Hamburgers -- $2.49”. Well, we had already seen signs and paid $15 for a burger here in Alaska, so we figured we’d try them. But at that price we also figured they’d be very small so we ordered two each. Only when they started preparing them did we realize what we were getting. Individually made, with what ever you wanted on them, and the choices were extensive. It turned out to be a bigger meal than we had planned.
Looking to the other end of the main lodge.
We spent a quiet late afternoon in our room and then went out and strolled the grounds and shops before eating at Lynx Pizza again. This time we had a combo pizza, and they included everything, including the kitchen sink on it. For a small pizza, it was nearly more than we could eat.
After dinner we strolled around for a little while, watched some TV and packed for our move to Fairbanks in the morning.