I'm back today with another Alaska post. If you missed the first one, you can read it here.
Day 3 - Thursday, June 19 - Denali, AK
We woke up early Thursday morning to leave Fairbanks and head to Denali. We took a glass top train called the Wilderness Express, and it was so neat! It was about a 4 hour train ride, but you could look out in any direction and just see the wilderness stretch on for miles. I had never been on a train before, so I really enjoyed it!
The scenery was really pretty!
They also had a dining car down below, so we ate breakfast on the train.
I ordered the blueberry pancakes (which were SO good) with a side of reindeer sausage. Yeah, I ate reindeer. And it was actually pretty good. Sorry Rudolph ;)
Then we got to Denali and went straight into the park. We decided to upgrade our tour to the Tundra Wilderness Tour, which was a 7-8 hour tour through the park. One of the unique things about Denali National Park is that there is only one road that dead ends 90 miles into the park. Commercial vehicles can only drive the first 15 miles or so before they get turned around. If you want to drive deeper into the park, you have to take one of their buses. I thought that was kind of different, but it also made the park seem much more like you were just out in the middle of the mountains. The roads weren't paved and there wasn't any electricity, so it was much more secluded and rustic than pretty much every other national park I've ever gone to.
Unfortunately, it rained the entire day we were there. As in the entire 8 hour bus tour. We were a little bummed that we couldn't see Mount McKinley, but apparently only about 30% of people who visit actually get to see it. It's so crazy to me that a piece of land can spend most of its time above the clouds!
Even though it rained all day, we did still get to see a lot.
We saw a lot of animals too. This is a grizzly bear....
Can you see the moose in the middle of the grass out there? I loved getting to see all of the wildlife, especially since I had never seen a moose before in real life. They say that on the tour that we did you can usually see "the big four" (dall sheep, caribou, grizzly bear, and moose), and we got to see all of them!
We got back to our hotel super late that night and just had a little bit of time to eat dinner and explore. I wish we would have had more time in Denali!
We stayed at the McKinley Village Lodge, and it was so cute!
Standing around this bonfire was perfect after a long, cold, and wet day.
That was our day in Denali! I'll be back with more Alaska posts soon.