Yesterday morning was cloudy, cold and wet. We could not even see the mountain ranges surrounding our home. And yet, for some strange reason, we did head out for the park. The weather forecast looked the same for the rest of the week; clouds and showers every day. We also figured that rain doesn't influence the activities of the wildlife. It did turn out to be an awesome day for wildlife viewing. In fact, according to our bus driver Jim, it was a phenomenal day and one of the best days for him in the 30 some years he has been driving in the park. Many national parks have interesting wildlife, but the Denali wildlife community is unique in that it has remained intact over the years. All of the plant and animal species are present, and no species have had to be reintroduced. We took the tour which would end at Eielson Visitor Center, a road trip of 66 miles into the interior. It was a slow eight hour journey over a gravel one-lane road. In some areas the bus climbed up steep narrow mountain passes where occasionally it was necessary for our bus to move to the edge of the road to let another bus pass. Those were the times when I just needed to close my eyes and not look out!
The scenery of the park is beautiful. We traveled through lowland taiga forest as well as barren tundra meadows. The 650-mile-long mountain chain, known as the Alaska Range, passes through the park. Glaciers on those mountains have have carved out beautiful valleys in the park as well as bringing about some awesome rock formations. Many other geologic events also account for the spectacular beauty of the park. Below is a picture I took at the Polychrome Rest Area, given that name because of the varied colors of the rock layers in the hills. I was totally mesmerized by all that beauty!