Friday, August 4, 2017

Denali National Park: Part 1

Our drive from Trapper Creek on the Parks Highway 3, to Denali National Park, was uneventful.  The roads were smooth and the scenery was.. cloudy.

However, when we arrived to the National Park, the sun came out and we could see the landscape beauty surrounding us.  We got settled into Denali RV Park and Motel and took our first drive into the Park.
To keep Denali National Park as natural and unspoiled as possible, you may only drive your personal vehicle about 15 miles on the only road there.  To complete the entire 92 mile drive, people must purchase shuttle or tour tickets for buses that transport them.

The Denali National Park Visitor Center of course is a "must stop" for us.  Newly built in 2005, it is impressive with it's up-dated and informative museum quality exhibits.
This sturdy environmentally friendly building, is constructed with quality recycled materials and offers features such as solar panels.
Upon entering the Visitor Center, the open air exhibits are inviting and so are the Park's rangers. We also watched the Park's film "Heartbeats Of Denali" which was excellent.

The interactive exhibits offer educational information on all aspects of Denali National Park: the History, Development & Growth, Animal Information, Weather, Geology, Resources and Tourism.

That first afternoon's drive was a bit sunny and we could see why this place is special.

A stray Mews Gull begged us for a potato chip.

This Snowshoe Hare doesn't burrow in the winter but lives under bushes and branches.  They turn white in the winter, look at this ones big furry paws.

And finally, we got our first peak of the 20,310' Denali Mountain.
(way zoomed in with the telephoto camera lens, of course)

Checking out other programs offered in Denali National Park, we discovered a free presentation on the Denali Sled Dogs.  We boarded their free shuttle to Denali Sled Dog Kennels 
where a 30 minute demonstration was given on how the dogs are cared for, harnessed up and driven around with their "wheeled" sled. During the winter months, the only road in the Park is snow covered therefore these special sled dogs are still used to transport materials to the distant Eielson Visitor Center. Folks are given time before and after the demonstration to visit with the dogs at their kennel, some of the friendlier dogs allow you to rub and pet them.

Note the sturdy dog houses!  We learn these dogs stay outdoors all year!
Here, the handlers are hitching up the sled dogs to a "wheeled" type sled (it looked like a go kart without a motor) used for demonstration purposes and also for out-of-season training.  It was crazy..those dogs were just barking and jumping all around.  It was clear these dogs were excited out their purpose: to pull a sled.

Finally, they're off! Around their dirt "practice track" they go!

We learn that the dogs train for about a year or two, work for about 8 to 9 years before they are "retired" and then they're adopted out to loving families.
And puppies are on the way but they had not been born yet when we were there.

More Later..
Denali National Park: Part 2

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