ALASKA Denali NATIONAL PARKS Wildlife

THE LOST ALASKA FILES | More Denali Wildlife

June 13, 2014

autumn in denali national park landscapedenali national park wildlifedenali national park wildlifeautumn in denali national park landscapedenali national park wildlife

^^we called this one ‘chuckles’ — he seemed like he was in a good mood^^

autumn in denali national park landscapedenali national park wildlifedenali national park wildlifedenali national park wildlifedenali national park wildlifedenali national park wildlifedenali national park wildlifedenali national park wildlifeautumn in denali national park landscapedenali national park wildlifedenali national park wildlife

^^haughty Dall sheep with ‘tude^^

autumn in denali national park landscapedenali national park wildlife

^^we discovered a new species of wild beast ^^

denali national park wildlife

^^these corny pix are always my faves even if I do have crazy hair^^

autumn in denali national park landscape

A brief summary thus far of our time in Alaska:

We slept in an airport full of stuffed animals,  hiked through Alaska’s oldest national park, crossed a stream teaming with fish on our way to the raptor center, explored downtown Sitka, ate the best King Crab ever, slept in a cabin by a shrine, camped beside a glacier (and saw a bear!), took a death-defying puddle jumper to Gustavus and hiked to one of my most favorite places in the world, hopped on a  boat and spotted whales, seal, puffins, eagles, moose, bear, and calving glaciers,ate hands down one of the most memorable meals of our lives, got trapped in an airport for hours, then took a road trip up around the Kenai Peninsula, paddled down the Moose River (and saw a moose!), hunted for blueberries and stayed in a haunted hotel,  hiked up to Exit Glacier before making camp at Denali National Park, took a 5.5 hr camper bus through Denali to Wonder Lake Campgroundgot caught in a rainstorm while hiking to Reflection Pondwatched the sunrise over Mt. McKinleyand hunted (again) for wild blueberries (this time we were successful!).

Our journey continues as we make our way back from Wonder Lake campground through Denali on the shuttle bus.


Photographing wildlife suffers from what I call “the waterfall effect” — when you first see a waterfall it’s like the most amazing thing ever, so you take like a million photos of the same waterfall. The next waterfall you only take maybe half that and even less of waterfall after that. By the time you have reached the last waterfall you are just so over waterfalls that you are like, “oh. waterfall. cool.” “Want a picture in front of this waterfall?” someone will offer and you’ll just shrug, hand them your crappy camera phone, and say, “sure, I guess.” The same is true of photographing monuments, sunrises/sunsets, art museums, the Grand Canyon, and pretty much any travel photography. (This also applies to eating dim sum, but that’s another story.) By trips end, having been inundated with so much visual information and having taken thousands of photos of awesome things, you can barely manage to lift a camera.

On the bus out to Wonder Lake the first animal we saw – way way WAY off in the distance — was a moose. I’m sure moose sightings in Alaska are a bit like squirrel sightings in the lower 48 but damned if we didn’t stop that bus and sit there for nearly an hour taking photos of our microscopic moose. On the return trip back from Wonder Lake, with half the bus dozing off or with cameras safely tucked away in backpacks, we pretty much only stopped for “the Big 5” (we saw 4/5) and even then only when we could get a good photograph.

I took considerably less photos on the way back but that’s really all relative. My “less” is like a normal person’s entire lifetime in camera clicks. In fact I took the back seat as Sly took the bulk of these photos as he discovered he had a real knack for wildlife photography–a super steady hand and a lot of patience. I’m glad we (Sly) made the effort though – even though we sometimes get tired of taking pictures we always look back on them and are glad we did.

Plus,, on the way back, there was so much to see.

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