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Elaine and Peter’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 20 Jul 2019

Location: Denali, Alaska, USA

MapDenali is a remote and mountainous place. The weather here is reputed to be very variable and we have certainly witnessed this for ourselves. Changes in weather often occur without warning and we were told to expect sun, wind, rain and clouds all on the same day. Although rare, snow can fall at any time of the year, but hopefully not whilst we are here.

We have been very lucky today. It was cloudy and drizzling from time to time this morning when we set off by ourselves on a hiking trail from the grounds of the hotel, singing anything from nursery rhymes to the national anthem at the top of our voices in order to create noise to frighten away any bears. Needless to say, we saw no wild life at all.....

After lunch we took a privately organised bus tour called the Wilderness Tundra for the 8 hour drive into the national park. No private vehicles are allowed into the park so this is the only way to get into the wilderness.
We drove 62 miles which is about two thirds of the full length of the park.
For the first hour we were a bit disappointed as we went mile after mile through a forested region called the taiga. But after this, the landscape changed and gave way to spectacular views of mountains and tundra. Although cloudy the sun came out and so did numerous grizzlies, moose, caribou, lynx, arctic ground squirrel
Willow ptarmigan, snowshoe hares couple with an explosion of wildflowers, just great.

We drove over four passes but Polychrome Pass was probably the most spectacular with its wildly multicoloured landscape.

We turned back at Stony Hill Overlook, high up in the mountains. From here is the best place to get a clear view of Mount Denali but unfortunately not today, the overlook was shrouded in cloud, so that was one spectacle that we missed!

But a fabulous day!