Day 77: Wednesday, July 31, 2013. Williwaw Campground to Glacier View, Alaska. Grand View RV Park Site 1. About 150 miles traveled.
The drive to our RV park along the Glenn Highway was scenic with no wildlife sightings. I am still constantly on the lookout for moose and bears. We passed through areas where caribou are sometimes seen but there were none to be found today.
The Grand View RV Park advertises “Dall Sheep Viewing” so we stopped there hoping to see some Dall Sheep on the mountains across from the campground. While I did laundry all afternoon we got out the binoculars and spotting scope in hopes of seeing the sheep. We weren’t disappointed. Four of the Dall Sheep (big horn sheep) were grazing high up on the mountain late in the afternoon. They were too far away for photos but they were fun to watch.
View out the back window of Dall Sheep on the mountain at Grand View RV Parl Alaska
This interesting mountain was behind our campground
We could see Dall Sheep on the mountain behind the RV
Day 55: Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Our search for wildlife continued as we boarded our bus at 9:40 am. The 120 mile round trip to Kantishna and back took us all day. Our bus driver and tour guide Wayne kept us informed about each area we went through. The weather was overcast and rainy all day.
Our first two wildlife sightings were Grizzly bears. The first was close to the road, the second farther away.
Our first wildlife sighting was a Grizzly Bear
Second Grizzly sighting of the day
Next, we saw two different herds of Caribou before stopping at the Toklat River rest area. There we saw Dall Sheep on two different mountains. The Dall Sheep look like white dots on the mountain without binoculars or a telephoto lens. The pictures aren’t too good but you can tell they are sheep.
Caribou grazing in Denali National Park
We watched this Caribou herd as they moved quickly through the field
Beautiful view from Toklat River rest area
Three Dall sheep. The two rams are butting heads
Four Dall Sheep
Close up of one of the rams.
There were Caribou grazing on top of a ridge before we stopped at the Eileson Visitor’s Center for a stroll in the rain on the Tundra Loop Trail.
Another group of Caribou up on a ridge
Eielson Visitor’s Center
Wildflower on the Tundra Trail at the Eielson Visitor’s Center
Another wildflower on the Tundra Trail
Arctic Ground Squirrel, otherwise known as suicidal ground squirrels because they run out in the road right in front of vehicles.
And then there were moose.
Our first moose sighting was this cow by a pond
A big bull moose in the bushes
The Denali Park Road ends in Kantishna where several gold mines once operated. One of the mines was owned by the Quigleys. When the couple got divorced, Fannie Quigley built a cabin and lived there alone. When the national park expanded its boundaries the several privately owned lodges located there were allowed to continue to stay open.
Fannie Quigley’s cabin at Kantishna
We were on the bus for almost 10 hours
As we began our return trip we stopped at Wonder Lake where on a clear day there is a view of Mt. McKinley. In Denali National Park the chance of seeing Mt. McKinley is only 30% and the chance of seeing a bear is 90%.
A young bull moose
We saw this moose in a pond after we left Kantishna
We stopped at Wonder Lake where on a clear day you can see Mt. McKinley
Other than stopping to watch some Dall Sheep far off on the side of a mountain we didn’t make many stops to view wildlife on the return trip.
Total wildlife count for the day: 13 Caribou, 12 Dall Sheep, 2 Grizzly Bears, several Arctic Ground Squirrels, and a Ptarmigan (the state bird of Alaska) flying low to the ground by the bus. A great day!