to Denali National Park was rainy, with low-lying clouds, so the views just
weren’t there. We glanced over at the numerous
Denali overlooks, but to no avail. The
Parks Highway Scenic Byway just wasn’t too scenic that day.
of the extended forecast for rain, we decided to stay at an RV park in
order to charge our batteries before checking into Riley Creek Campground within
Denali National Park. Denali Rainbow Village RV Park isn’t much more than a crowded, gravel parking lot with
interior dirt roads filled with potholes.
It’s certainly not our kind of park, but it’s the closest commercial
park to the entrance to Denali.
ventured out of the RV for two days since we were both battling colds. Tim likely picked up his on the flights from
Oklahoma, and he was kind enough to share with me. It’s rather surprising that this is the first
time either one of us has been sick since beginning our full-timing adventure
(we won’t count Tim’s surgery last summer as being sick). Colds are more annoying than debilitating,
but we still didn’t feel up to doing anything.
The rainy weather only added to our lack of desire to extend ourselves
or to expose others to our germs.
was time to move to Riley Creek Campground on Wednesday, I was feeling no
better. I stayed in the RV while Tim met
with Denali’s museum curator to finalize the details of his two-week contract. Tim returned to the RV full of enthusiasm about
the project, which will begin on Monday, August 24. We then checked into Riley Creek Campground
and got set up. Riley Creek is the
largest campground in Denali National Park and is located near the park
entrance. Like all campgrounds in the
park, there are no hookups, but the campsites are nicely situated in a wooded
area with a lot of privacy between sites.
weather forecast for Thursday was fairly good, Tim and I talked about taking a
shuttle bus into the park, which is the only way to travel the park road since
private vehicles are mostly prohibited past mile 15. Shuttle buses are glorified school buses, filled
with fellow tourists seeking to take in views of magnificent wildlife,
breathtaking landscapes and, hopefully, Denali itself. In the end, however, I accepted the fact that
I was still sick. The idea of spending
eight hours on a bus was not at all appealing.
So, I sent Tim on without me.
pm on Thursday, Tim hopped aboard a green shuttle bus headed to the Eielson Visitor
Center, approximately 66 miles inside the park.
The bus was scheduled to return to the park entrance by 9:00 pm. Tim thought this would be an interesting
schedule, and he was hoping to get on a less-crowded bus and take advantage of
afternoon and evening light for photographs.
Well, the bus was crowded, but the visible light was great for
photography, as you can see in his images.
|Shuttle Buses Transport Visitors through Denali National Park|
|Private Vehicles Are Prohibited Past Savage River|
Tim’s most enduring memory of the bus ride was the screaming children and
parents who could not, or would not, control them. When wildlife is spotted from a bus,
passengers are required to be very quiet.
Although the bus driver repeated this message time and time again, it
seemed to do no good. It’s a shame that
parents inflict children like these on other passengers who have paid a lot of
money to experience a wilderness environment.
|I Still Think Tim Had a Good Time|
|Tim and the Locked Antlers|
feeling a little bit better by Friday when we checked out of Riley Creek
Campground, so we toured the exhibits at the visitor center and watched the
film. We then made our way ten miles
north to the small town of Healy to spend the weekend with our friend
Kathleen. Kathleen was Tim’s colleague
at Rocky Mountain National Park, but transferred to Denali National Park four
years ago, so we had a lot of catching up to do.
Tim and I
have really enjoyed driveway camping at friends’ houses. We get to spend quality time with them, but
still sleep in our own bed. The rainy
and cold weather provided us with a good excuse to just hang out with Kathleen
at her home. She prepared a wonderful
dinner for us on Saturday and invited one of the women we will be working with
returned to Denali Rainbow Village RV Park on Sunday night, and this is where
we will remain for the duration of our time at Denali. Although it would have been great to stay in
the park, we do need hookups. The
weather has turned cold, and rain remains in the forecast for at least the next
week. Kathleen remarked that she cannot
remember such a long stretch of rainy weather this time of year. I’m still hoping I will be able to get out
into the park and enjoy wonderful vistas, wildlife sightings and views of the