Day 18-19: Denali National Park

June 5: Denali National Park, AK

We arrived at Denali National Park early enough to do some exploring on day 18 and then hiking on day 19. It was still early in the season and the park was not opening down to Wonder Lake until the weekend. While it was open down to the Eielson Visitor Center, we only went as far a Savage River. Going to Eielson would have consumed a whole day and we had already had excellent views of Mt. Denali. Savage River is where you go for wildlife. Here we spotted a lone grizzly bear, a grizzly sow and her cub, and several caribou.

1 -  Grizzly

2 -  Grizzly

4 - Caribou

5 - Caribou

And then we saw a bear rarely seen in the wild: the elusive Gift Shop Bear. They are often sited in captivity, but rarely in their natural environment.

3 - Bear rarely seen in the wild 2

On our trip back to the campground on day two we saw pair of moose twins. Sorry about the composition and focus, we were on a shuttle bus when we spotted them.

6 - Moose Twins

On day two at Denali, we hiked the Savage Alpine Trail. This is one of Denali’s newest trails. The views were stunning; even though, the initial climb fairly strenuous.

7 -  Savage Alpine Trail

8 - Savage Alpine Trail

9 - Savage Alpine Trail

We happened upon a couple of Artic Ground Squirrels on our hike and they were rather sassy. We stopped to talk to one squirrel and, after a few seconds, he came out of his rock covering and started to yell at us. This guy just came up to the trail to take a look and chitter away at us.

10 - Artic Ground Squirrels

Next on our itinerary is Fairbanks and home.

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