Chronologically, I should start with our travels in Minnesota and Canada. Or with the Mega-honeymoon. Could we have a destination honeymoon? No. We had a coast-to-coast, visit eleven national parks honeymoon. How we managed it on our salary, I still have no idea.
I’m going to start with Alaska. For our ten year anniversary, Jon and I planned to go to Peru. I still have the travel books, and I would love to travel there someday. But Jon has always wanted to visit Alaska. Did I say visit? Jon has always wanted to move to Alaska. I suggested a change in plans, and it did not take much convincing.
Alaska is a big place, and we had to focus. Jon wanted Denali. I wanted the coast. We settled on Denali and Kenai.
When you drive north from the airport in Anchorage, you start to get used to the mountains. Everywhere mountains.
Could this be “the Mountain”? (This is not the mountain). People in Alaska talk about Denali like a person. “The Mountain did not come out today”, like it did not feel like visiting us. Turns out, Denali is covered in clouds most of the time. When it came out, we felt very privileged to see it.
See that mountain range in the front? We saw those huge monsters for days. Denali appears twice as big (rear of same photo). The Mountain indeed.
Everyone who travels to Denali hopes to see the Big Five – Dall Sheep, Grizzly Bears, Moose, Caribou, and Wolves. We were warned that it is difficult to see bears and wolves, but we would probably see moose. We hardly saw any moose (not a huge disappointment after four years in Minnesota), but we saw 23 grizzlies!
You can get off the bus anywhere, unless there is wildlife present. They have conditioned the animals to ignore the buses. Watching the bus drive away, knowing you are on your own for at least a half hour, was an interesting experience.
Some visitors were not brave enough to do it, and were impressed when we flagged down the next bus.
We took a challenging ranger-led hike and had to take a detour around this male grizzly.
The visitor centers are a good place to warm up, and they have some beautiful artwork.
It is a long drive to the northern end of the park. It’s worth it.
Next stop – Seward and Kenai Fjords National Park.