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Flight into Alaska over snow-capped mountain peaks and flowing glaciers.
Nothing better than being greeted in Anchorage by a friendly moose!
Denali National Park was our first national park of the tour. It was cool and sunny.
Heavy duty BlueBird buses take visitors into the park. No private vehicles are allowed after Mile 15.
Park service rangers greet all the buses.
Sunny enough for a sun-brella!
Colorful mountains similar to Polychrome Pass, where the road is closed for several years due to landslides.
This is a “braided river.”
We spotted several caribou.
Caribou and reindeer are the same family.
High up on the mountains, we found this “bachelor” group of male goats. The females were in a separater “nursery” group, but too far away to photograph.
There’s still lots of snow remaining in the middle of June.
Mt. Denali (formerly Mt. McKinley), 20,310 feet tall. We felt lucky for this view, as not all visitors get to see “the mountain.”
Grizzly bear, also called a brown bear, is evident by the hump on its back. This one was in the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage, as the ones in the park were too distant to photograph.
And grizzlies have HUGE paws!
Also at the zoo, a Musk Ox. They are protected and cannot be hunted. Native Alaskans comb their fur to spin into qiviut yarn which is warmer and lighter than wool (and very expensive!).
Alaskan lodges have gotten really nice. This is our Denali hotel along the Nenana River just outside the national park. There are no commercial lodgings in the park.
Another day of sunshine as we wait to depart for our Alaska Railroad journey south.
Signposts are such fun! Denali area is 76 miles south of Fairbanks and 187 miles north of Anchorage on the Parks Highway.
Remember “Into The Wild”? This is the mock-up bus used in the movie. The original is now at the Museum of the North in Fairbanks after it was airlifted by a sky crane from the wilderness. Too many people were getting lost in the wilderness tring to find it.
There were so many wildflowers in full bloom everywhere we traveled.
Clumps of lupines lined many of the roadways.
My favorite – the Alaska Rose. Its rose hips in fall are huge and great for jams and syrups.
This is the Alaska Fireweed. It is unique in that it blooms from the bottom of the stem to the top. When the final bud on top blooms, winter will come quickly. In June, only two little flowers had bloomed.
Whitewater rafting is popular in the Nenana River along the edge of Denali Park.
Our train ride on the Alaska Railroad took us from Denali Park to Talkeetna.
Premier Alaska Tours has their own dome cars, as all the cruiselines have. Below the seating is a restaurant with delicious meals.
On our way, watching for wildlife and another view of “the mountain.”
Hurricane Creek is 296 feet below the train!
Bridge over Hurricane Gulch in central Alaska with mountains in the background.
Just south of Talkeetna is the Alaska Veterans Memorial honoring all military services, including the Alaska Territorial Guard (Eskimo soldiers) who helped defend Alaska in WWII.
Just before Palmer and Anchorage is the Iditarod Trail Headquarters with displays and trophies for the Iditarod dogsled race.
Father of the Iditarod race, Joe Redington, Sr.
The dogs love pulling visitors on wheeled sleds!
Hang on! The dogs really move fast.
Our next national park was Kenai Fjords, a day’s journey by boat out of Seward.
The day was cloudy and rainy, but that is typical of the Alaska coastal waters. Note the size of this glacier compared to a touring boat.
Smaller boats than cruise ships can get right up to the face of glaciers. We heard this one calve three times.
Harbor seals just hanging out on the icebergs.
An unusual sight, we saw humpback whales bubble feeding, but it was too quick to get a photo. At least I got a photo of one’s tail!
Steller sea lions lounging near a bird rookery.
Many birds were nesting in the rocky cliffs.
Another nesting site.
A lot of rain means beautiful, cascading waterfalls all around.
It was wet taking photos outside, but inside the boat we were dry and comfortable.
The log cabin visitor center in Anchorage has been iconic for many years.
Another signpost of faraway places! Rain did not stop us from exploring the city.
The salmon were running, and fishermen right in town were catching large salmon.
I’m glad this grizzly was stuffed! He’s huge.
Dress shopping for an Eskimo summer “parky.” No pattern is needed to sew one; they are constructed of various sizes of rectangles cut to fit the individual wearer. In winter, they can be lined inside with fur.
These brave eight took a float plane flightseeing tour around Anchorage.
The plane held all eight and they had a fantastic time.