Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day 5- Off to see Denali

Note: Sorry if my account sounds slightly sparse. I didn’t keep a journal while I was there, so I wrote all of this up later, and so I have forgotten some of the enriching details.
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 mine

The 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.

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