We left in the van right after breakfast, after loading up food and bags. We got to Denali at 11. We got a lecture from the Park Service about wildlife safety and taking care of the park. We also went to look at the visitor center, where there was a 3D topo map of the park, which was pretty cool to look at.
Next we drove out to Savage River, which is a river right on the edge of the restricted area of the park. Past here, only tour buses and authorized vehicles are allowed past. Very few private cars are allowed. We were able to get a permit as a educational group, but we displaced a whole tour bus, as only a certain number of cars are allowed on the road at a time. But before we entered the park, we went on a hike.
We climbed up on a rocky protrusion and looked at some of the fractures and types of rock. We also got a nice view of the valley.
After walking along the river and looking at rocks, we got back in the car and entered the park. We drove 30 miles to our campground, where we met Nadine, a park geologist. The campground had fancy cabins, with bunks and mattresses. We put all of our food in a storage shed and moved our gear into our cabins.
This picture was taken by Emily, a classmate of mineThe paleontology group showed up a little later and moved into the other cabins. They would be staying with us for three out of the four nights we would stay in Denali. That night the paleontology group made us dinner, which was a stir fry. There were propane cookstoves, so making food was pretty easy. There was also a yurt to eat in if it was raining.
It was a little buggy, but I was okay without bug spray, and it turned out that I wouldn't need any for the rest of the trip.
We took a short walk out to the river that night and and walked around. My roommate and now cabin mate went swimming in the glacially fed river. He was from Boston, and I guess that was his way of experiencing Alaska.
We had to be accompanied by a park ranger at all times in the park, and since there were two groups, us and paleontology, another ranger, Kristen, came that night.