Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Stampede Ride

Andrew took his mom on her first ride out the Stampede Trail to show her our backyard playground. 
 Before they got to the end of the road they came upon a big bull caribou!  This is the first one we've ever seen in this area.  We've seen their tracks before but never the actual animal.  Very cool!
He didn't really want to leave the road.

 Tons of cotton grass!
Sherry in the Savage River!  They both had such a great time!  I was told there were LOTS of giggles and yee-ha's :)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Denali Days

Andrew's parents have been staying with us (yes, in our spare dry cabin!) for the past couple of weeks.  We enjoyed our first bus ride into the park with them on one of our days off from work.  And what a magnificent day it was!  Crystal clear, but HOT!  The downside to that weather was all the animals were hiding from the sun and the summer's heat.  We had temps in the lower 80s, which is super hot for this area.  We saw quite a few caribou and moose scattered all over, sheep way up on the mountain slopes, but no bears, canines, or kitties :(  Ted and Sherry figured that was because they saw 27 bears on the drive through Canada plus a wolf, coyote, and fox!
The Mountain was booming from the beginning!

Saw our first critters before we reached the end of the pavement at the Savage River.  These bull caribou know to stay in the glacial fed water to keep cool.

We saw two moose not far apart near the Mt. Margaret area.

Headed towards the colorful Polychrome Pass.
A ground squirrel in the foreground seems to be taking in the view.

A caribou seeking respite from the mid-day heat on the last remaining winter's ice.
Photo at the Toklat River stop.
The tundra is carpeted with mountain avens and other small wildflowers.

Getting close to seeing the grand view of Denali.  I love this picture because it helps show just how big this mountain truly is.  And to think just over a year ago we stood on its top :)
One of the best views of The Big Mountain ever!
Ted and Sherry's first time enjoying this particular view.  On their first trip to Alaska and only other time taking a bus ride into the park, the mountain was completely clouded in.
We couldn't have had better weather this day.  We all remarked that this photo looked photoshoped, like we pasted ourselves in the picture.
View from the Eielson Visitor Center.  Denali is not only Alaska's crown jewel but one of America's too!  God bless this country and the men and women that defend it!
Another gifted day.
 Thanks so much for sharing this beautiful day in the park with us!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Midnight Mountain Hike

Back in early June we took a midnight hike after work.  Rising straight up out of the Nenana River Canyon Sugarloaf Peak is one of our favorite hikes.  The trail itself gains 3,000 ft. in about 3 miles and normally takes us about 3 hours to scramble up.  The plan was to be on the summit for the sunrise, which at the time was around 4am.  We began the hike about 1am and reached the top around 3am.....only two hours to the top!  We were moving!  We couldn't hang out for an hour because the wind was whipping and the temperature was close to freezing.  As you can see there was still a good bit of snow on the peaks which was one of the main motivations for going in early June.  One very nice surprise that night was the full moon.  It was rising as we began our hike and setting as we finished it.  We were joined by our friend Kevin and a friend of his for the hike.

 Just after the sun came up around 4am on the way down.