Day 10: Monday, June 19, 2000 We left Fairbanks at 6:45 a.m. and drove a gorgeous highway south to McKinley View RV Park, a few miles outside Denali. We got the camper set up and immediately headed off into the park to the Visitor's Center. It was quite crowded with lots of young people wearing backpacks. Our goal was to get tickets for a bus tour into the park We took the 8 hour trip for the next morning. The eleven hour trip would have included an overnight stay at a lodge at the end of a 90 mile gravel road. There was also a much shorter ride available that afternoon. That accomplished we watched a slide show introduction to the park and then boarded a bus to see a dog show demonstration.
These are actually working sled dogs. They provide mobility for the rangers on patrol of this vast park in the winter season. There was a short demonstration on a gravel track as a few of the dogs were chosen to make this run. Do the dogs love their work? Your better believe it, when you hear them bark and yowl to be chosen. "Take me, pick me" they seem to sayThen after we wandered about a bit looking at the dogs kennels, harnesses and sleds, we took a brief ride up to the entry point for the wilderness road. To prevent traffic jams, risks to people and wildlife and preserve the pristine nature of this wilderness, it's buses only on the road. This definitely isn't Yellowstone. It works well enough, although years of experience taking my basketball players to games on school buses, left me less than a little thrilled from the comfort side of it.
No cars are allowed past the bridge. As we headed back out of the park to our campground, we saw several moose along the roadside and a "drunken forest." Due to heaving in the perma frost. all the conifers were tipped crazily in all directions. In the same forest was a herd of caribou another first for all of us. They were all standing pretty straight, however.
Next: Into the Denali wilderness by bus
'drunken forest' sounds neat. :) glad the dogs love what they do.ReplyDelete
I am sure those dogs love what they do, too, from every picture I've seen of them. I am enjoying this trip very much! :-)ReplyDelete
I see some of the drunken conifers in your pictures. Very interesting. I suppose that ground is belching up a bit more methane by now.ReplyDelete
That's an interesting dog sled (which I'm sure you noticed when you were taking the picture.) It's heavier than most, maybe more a buckboard than a buggy, a work sled. Still, it has the graceful lines and light construction that makes dog sleds things of beauty, and interesting. Here's a link to a nice old one on Wikimedia labeled simply "antique dog sled." No info about it except that it's in a museum in the Yukon:
If you google the term dog sled, though, you find all different types.
I once came across some plans for making a dog sled and was bent on making one. I'm not sure why, though, as I don't remember planning to get any dog sled dogs. Funny thing, memory. Photos are aids to memory, and I wonder to what extent they influence it. One the one hand I'm inclined to think memories associated with pictures might crowd out others that aren't recorded in pictures. On the other hand, I have old pictures that I have no idea what they are of, while I have memories of things that weren't photographed that are very vivid. Funny thing, memory. Oh, I said that already.
Loved this part of your trip and the photographs.ReplyDelete
I have always wanted to see a Moose in real life. When we visited Canada, Nova Scotia and Bar Harbor I looked out for them all the time. Hubby spotted one from the coach but that's all. I was so disappointed. Had to buy a stuffed Moose as a keepsake... smiles.
You must have kept some sort of journal at the time, or can you reconstruct it all by looking at your photos?ReplyDelete
Hi troutbirder ... I had never heard of the "drunken forest" but what a descriptive name to give to that place. Enjoying the journey ... thanks for posting.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the memories, TB. My most vivid memory of that gravel road is before it was buses only......an accident and I did CPR for a couple hours before an Army helicopter landed and took the victim and I to Elmendorf.....that was '75. Was Denali 'out' for your visit? I've known people who went there for several days and never saw it emerge from the clouds.ReplyDelete
We didn't see it but had the 2 month camping trip of a lifetime.Delete
Those dogs are so excited to work, it amazes me! I bet you are glad you kept a journal:)ReplyDelete