June 7, 2009 - Afternoon in Denali

By one of the Alaska Geographic stations are a couple of sets of antlers.
Bubba has to try on the caribou!

He's not alone, as I do my best drunken Bullwinkle.

Back on the road, we see another bear in the distance.
Middle of the screen. See that brown dot?

Here he is!

So scenic.

Another bear forages right by the road. We assume this will be our closest encounter, since it is about 30' away...

Chewing on something...

Cute face (and paws)!

Another bear at a great distance.
B I think this is our 5th or 6th.
It was a beary good day!
(That was for Kelsey and Uncle Wayne.)

A local artist quilted a modern interpretation of Denali and its wildlife.

At the new welcome center, mile post 66 - as far as the road goes in what still counts as early spring in Alaska.

Artic ground squirrel.
These little guys look different than our gray ground squirrels, but act about the same.

Except these prairie dog and chirp quick, high-pitched chirps.

The Scream
(Amazingly, I just happened to luck into a chirp. Not even on continuous mode. I didn't even know I got it for a few minutes...)

Another close bear.

She is about 15' from the bus, surveying the area.

This big fella comes even closer, heading right towards us on the park road.

Right in front of the bus, he goes off-road and passes nearby.

The golden eagles were everywhere - the buzzards of Denali.

Looking back at the park road.

A cottonwood shelters the bear-proof trash cans.

Know what this is?
Me, neihther.
It's an unlucky rabbit's foot...
Owls and eagles catch showshow hares, take them up to the treetops, and eat the meaty parts. Where it get to be too much bone and tendon and junk, the birds stop eating and leave the rest as leftovers.

The Alaska Rail runs through the park.

Leaving the park, we head south, then southwest around Denali.

Our first spotting of Mt. McKinley.

From the lodge, we get a panoramic view of the Alaska Range.

Picture spot!

Dinner: halibut and king crab!