Monday, June 29, 2009

Fairbanks to Denali National Park ,Alaska

We took a 3.5 hour paddle wheel boat ride on the Discovery. The trip was on the Chena River. We made a brief stop at the former riverfront home of veteran Iditarod Dog Musher Susan Butcher. Her husband talked about her adventures and introduced her champion sled dogs. There were many dogs and cute puppies.

We had a stop at an Old Chena Indian Village. We had a guided tour and they shared their culture with us.

The next day we went to the El Dorado Gold mine, first by bus then by train. It is a hands on adventure. We learned the history of mining in Alaska and also experience a modern day mining and panned for gold. Both of us found gold and had it made into a pendant and chain.

When we left Fairbanks we headed to Denali . It was a beautiful day ,so as soon as we set up the RV’s we headed to the Park. We took a 15 mile ride into the park hoping it would be clear enough to see the Mt. McKinley. What a beautiful sight, a huge snow covered mountain waiting for us. You can only drive the first 15 miles into the park. The only way to see the interior of the park in on one of the parks buses. The next day we took an 8 hr bus tour of the park and you could not see the Mount McKinley at all. We saw many grizzly bear, some with their cubs. We also saw caribou and dull sheep.

There are approx. 6 million acres, although visitors only get see a fraction from the 85 mile Park Road, only about a 30 to 40 percent of the visitors get to see Mt McKinley. The visitor Center is great, and a very busy place. We attended the Sled Dog Demonstration. You could get there by bus or hike, guess how we got there! We took many photos and got up close and friendly with the dogs . No puppies this time. The sled dog demonstration was at the amphitheatre given by a park ranger. The ranger also explained the role of the sled dogs in the park. They use them to patrol the park in the winter. They have cabins spaced about 20 miles apart to overnight in. The sled dog teams are very important to the work in the park.

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