Monday, July 25, 2011

Riley Creek to Teklanika and Wildlife in the Park

We got an early start this morning as we wanted to try to get a campsite in Teklanika that would give us our satellite internet.  We were only able to bring the motorhome in on the special permit road which goes in about 29-30 miles.  Private vehicles can otherwise only go as far as mile 15.  We drove to the Visitor Center where we left the pickup and we were soon on our way west to the campground.


We got to the turnoff into the campground (the road going right before the bus stop).

2 The site we used 2 years ago was occupied.  We found another site near that one, tried the satellite, it locked on, and we were set to go.  The weather was okay when we got situated, so we packed a lunch and headed to the bus stop to catch a ride further into Denali National Park.  Once on the bus, our first stop was Teklanika Rest Stop.  In addition to it being a rest area, there is also a viewing area to the mountains across the Teklanika River.  Ken spotted 3 dall sheep near the top of one of the peaks.


The sheep seemed to be spooked by something that we didn’t see, and they ran to the left.


After a short break, we got back on the bus and continued further into the park.  There is about a 5 mile area on Sable Pass that is restricted and people are not allowed to walk the road in that area due to grizzly activity.  The bus driver going into the park was not really tuned into finding the wildlife, and it was a passenger that yelled for him to stop for our first grizzly bear.


Getting close to the end of the restricted area, another passenger shouted out for the driver to stop for another grizzly.  This one was a sow with two cubs.


We had another short break at Polychrome where we looked down to the Toklat River.


Before too long, caribou were spotted below the road.


In addition to these two, we saw about 15 caribou in the area between Polychrome and Tolkat.  Since we have a scheduled bus ride tomorrow into Eielson Visitor Center, we decided to have our lunch at Tolkat and catch another bus back to camp.  We had a much better bus driver on the way back and she was very informative of things along the route.  She spotted a grizzly that none of the passengers would have seen, and she decided to wait and see if it would move.  It did move and we got some great photos as it was much closer to the road than the other we saw earlier in the day.  Here are a couple of photos of our 5th grizzly bear for the day.



After getting back to camp we walked around the campground a bit then returned to the motorhome for the rest of the day.

1 comment:

Sharon Del Rosario said...

Awesome! I just can't say enough about your photography and reporting. You're inspiring us to return to Alaska in the future and spend more time than we've been able to do this year.