July 7, 2009

Today is another warm sunny day and there seems to be less smoke. We took the bus 15 miles into the park to Savage River so we could hike. On the way the bus stopped at an overlook and we could actually see Mt. McKinley through the smoky haze – Yeah we now are among the 30% of visitors who actually get to see the mountain. Mt. McKinley is about 80 miles away and the mountains in front of it are 30 miles away. Pretty impressive!!

We hiked along Savage River and the scenery was beautiful. We saw lots of small wildlife - a number of ptarmigan and lots of baby chicks, snowshoe hares, ground squirrels, marmots and gulls. The park has had an explosion of snowshoe hares and there are large areas where they have stripped the willows bare.

After our hike we attended a dog sled demonstration at the park kennels. The rangers patrol the park using dog sleds during the winter. We were given a history of dog sledding in the park and then they harnessed up 5 dogs and gave us a demonstration. It was pretty amazing how easily those dogs pulled the ranger and sled over the gravel. It was another 85 degree day which is hard on the dogs as they like cold weather – they were not very active until they started harnessing the team – then the whole kennel got excited. They are amazing dogs. When Cody and Camille misbehave we threaten them with sending them to sled dog school.

This evening we attended Cabin Nite Dinner Theatre in a replica early 1900’s roadhouse. We had a great family style rib and salmon dinner with all the fixings and some great blueberry cobbler. During dinner our wait staff entertained us by singing and joking around. After dinner they sang, performed comedy skits and, of course, Robert Service poetry. Most of the skits were about the history of Denali National Park. We had a great time and, of course, ate too much. We really enjoyed our time in the park.


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