Days 4 & 5 – Denali

So Monday was our last night in the Kenai Peninsula, and we were all a little sad to leave. Our cabin was freaking amazing, and we had seen so much. But the drive up to Denali on Tuesday was very awesome. We drove up to Anchorage and stopped at the Fred Meyer to get some stuff for dinner because we knew we’d have a kitchen at our next cabin.

Then we went on past Anchorage and took a little detour to Talkeetna, a small town that once started a social media campaign about their mayor being a cat to get more tourists. Needless to say, it worked and there were a ton of people when we got there. It’s a cute place that basically reminds me of any small town shopping scene you’d find at places like St. Charles or Black Ridge (I think that’s the name of the place Grandma and Grandpa stopped with me at a long time ago).

So we got some souvenirs there and continued on to Denali. We were driving for so long, that we seriously we considering we had gotten lost. Once we finally got closer, we could pull over to a viewing spot, where we were supposed to be able to see the peaks of Denali, and we did! Apparently, I’m hearing it’s pretty rare to actually see the peaks, because the weather is just finicky and you never know about the cloud coverage.

We passed the place I am currently working at now (I will post more updates to include all that fun jazz later), the road to actually drive into the park, and the “Canyon”, which is just a tourist trap of expensive shops and cool looking hotels. I’m actually thinking about going to this GoPro store they have, but I am not sure yet. Anyway, we finally got to our cabins, which were great. They were not as fancy as the last cabins, but that’s okay because they were more of what I envision as cabin-like. The owner is really nice, too. She actually is working a summer job at the same place I am, so I see her around a few times throughout the day.

I think that night we just stayed in our cabin and made dinner and updated this website, haha. The long drive was very tiring, and we wanted to wake up early the next day to drive through Denali and see some wildlife.

That’s where one of Claire’s favorite animals comes in! Alaska’s state bird — the Willow Ptarmigan — seemed to be everywhere when we went on our drive. They were almost posted on the side of the road in equal intervals and make their

extremely unique sound when mom started talking to them like chickens. I couldn’t believe that bird was making that sound when I first heard it. I was struggling to describe it, but I think I finally have it: it sounds like Wall-E when he is first starting up, but then something happened and now he’s skipping like a disc or something. That’s the closest I can come to putting into words, haha. It was very amusing.

We also saw some more moose and caribou. There were also some arctic hares and squirrels. Apparently, too, the Grouse (another type of bird) were in the middle of their mating season, and we stumbled upon a pair that was definitely together. The male was walking around the female and spreading his back feathers in a coordinated motion, and I thought it was his mating dance, trying to get the lady bird to accept his birdly manliness. But the owner of the cabins — Terra — said that the male was actually trying to distract us away from the female, because I guess they already mated.

Either way, I was fascinated!

After that, we stayed in the cabin a while — to Claire’s dismay — but we recharged to head back into Denali for another evening drive. We hiked a small trail first, and saw more caribou. I was certain we were going to see some moose, though, when we passed through what felt like an abandoned camp ground, and moose poop and tracks were EVERYWHERE. And seemingly fresh.

But we didn’t, and we drove to the top again, this time seeing a moose from very far away, eating on the side of a mountain. We also saw some mountain goats on the way down. It was funny, because mom said she wanted to see some mountain goats, and then minutes later I told her to stop the car because I thought I saw some, and we did! Four of them!

That night was pretty quiet, because those drives (into the park) were super exhausting. I don’t know what it was about it, but each time we were all just so tired. Claire slept partially for both times, I think, and I think I was definitely about to fall out.

(Again, more pictures will be added later, I am just trying to get the events down and figure out an efficient way to do these pictures!)

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