I forgot to mention the heatwave here! It has been record breaking temperatures since we arrived. Nearly 90 in Fairbanks (need I say we took the room with working a/c) and high 80’s here at Denali Park. Who would have guessed we’d need our shorts for this leg of the trip? Well, we aren’t wearing shorts because the mosquitoes are so thick. Today we are especially glad to have multiple cans of OFF. We were told that the lead story in Anchorage was that the state is in a mosquito crisis and shelves are bare of all bug repellent. For those who remember before we left I had asked about the best repellents. For what it’s worth we have decided that only the real toxic stuff keeps those pesky mosquitoes away more than five minutes. Alaska mosquitoes are impervious to anything less.
For the bus tour we chose to ride a shuttle bus rather than the tour bus. The tour bus charges more than three times as much and doesn’t go the whole length of the road. The shuttle bus drivers are not ‘professional tour guides’ but our driver was super. He talked most of the ride and pointed out any wildlife, stopping to let us take pictures.We, or I should say Matthew, also made friends with a couple on the bus with us. Daniel and Margriet are visiting from the Netherlands. I think they said they have now been to all 50 states. As you can imagine one bit of attention from them turned into a whole day of Matthew showing off all his treasures. New friends, a well seasoned bus driver guide and $$ saved… I say, use your savings for a night at the lodge and ride the shuttle bus.
As I said, we took one of the earliest shuttles, hoping to see more wildlife. It turned out to be a great choice. We saw caribou, moose and a fox and of course, the scenery was amazing. But to our great delight, the haze of yesterday that limited visibility to McKinley was gone today. It turned out to be a picture perfect day. I think, not only were we in the 30% but in the 10% who really see the highest peak completely without clouds. It was truly amazing. We had super views of the entire mountain from the first moment until we headed back. But by the time we reached the park center clouds were rolling in and once again the mountain was at least partially covered.
What a super day! We celebrated by roasting marshmallows over the fire which the kids had been waiting to do.
PS I think we’re at page 13 of Harry Potter.