Total Pageviews to Date

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Fairbanks to Denali ~ The Destination Realized

Swiss Army Camper

Left Fairbanks around 7 am even with our morning coffee at McDonalds. The weather looked promising as we started to climb out of the city into the foothills. The Nenana Valley was fog covered, but soon we were above the mist and into sunshine. It is only 121 miles to Denali and we couldn’t checkin until 12pm. That gave us plenty of time to walk the shops on the outskirts of the Park.

Temporary Home Base
At 11 am, we were in the parking lot of the campground registration building having an early lunch. I top off the fresh water tank and ready for our departure. The lot is filled with RVs of all sorts. There was one RV with Swiss license plate that caught my eye. It was a high ground clearance camper, four by four (all-wheel drive) with massive tires. I’m guessing it was a military vehicle or converted military vehicle used as a camper. He was ahead of us going into the park. I watched him more than the scenery to the first 10 mile check point. You can’t travel any further than the check point unless you’ve got a reservation. He stopped and turned off. We marched on for another 14.5 miles to Teklanika campground. There are only fifty sites here. If the big Swiss Army Camper would have continued, I’m sure that I would have gotten his history on camping from here back to Switzerland and a lot of info on that monster RV.

Ranger Talk at Teklanika Campground
We found a good site, settled in and got the bikes of the rack and started to tour. We always expect to see wildlife when hiking or biking. We didn’t! The interesting thing about Denali is that there aren’t any trails or at least only a few. People just wonder off and explore. We headed back to camp (using the highway) and Helen started getting things ready for supper. With the bikes off the rack in front of the truck, I decided to see if I could change the hundreds of bugs off the grill for some new ones further down our adventure road. My 2012 Ford looked like a 2005! I rubbed the bugs off with rubbing compound.

Home of the Range!
After supper, we walked around talking to the other campers and getting tips and info on tomorrow’s bus trip to Wonder Lake. That’s when one camper was telling me of the Grizzly Bear that walked right past here at five o’clock, you know… when I was cleaning my truck grill. The bear wasn’t that close, just 300 yards down to the river.

At 7:30, we went to the Ranger talk down at the river’s edge. The talk was about the history of the Park and the men would were instrumental in making it a National Park. It was a good presentation.

In bed by 9:30pm for a 7:40 pickup time for the bus into the deep interior of the park.

That is what we did and saw

No comments: