We had a morning to kill before the bus ride to the Denali Backcountry Lodge, so we took the shuttle up to the Denali Park Visitor Centre and learned a bit more about the flora and fauna and the history of the gold rush. I particularly liked the recipe for blueberry pie made famous by one of the early pioneers, Fanny Quigley. First, catch, your bear … – see the photo for the full recipe! Life was very tough here.
My reading material for this section of the journey was maybe a bad choice – “Alaska Bound – One Man’s Dream, One Woman’s Nightmare, by Tammy Jones – www.AlaskaBoundTammyJones.com. It is a true story about building a log cabin in the Alaskan wilderness. Intense cold, dark, icy water and bears all feature in it. As we approach the wilderness, it is giving me some anxiety about what lies ahead – especially as it is a true story!
The bus ride on the Bluebird was long, but we were rewarded with sightings of 4 of the “big 5” – caribou, bear, dall sheep and moose along the way. I didn’t take any pictures of the dall sheep – they looked like a few white dots on the mountains to me, even with the telephoto lens! The elusive fifth is the wolf – but that js a very rare sight jndeed. It was a clear, sunny day, so we were able to get a good view of Mount McKinley, the tallest mountain in the world (in elevation – Mount Everest is the highest).
The landscape here is majestic and beautiful and hard to capture on a photo. You really have to be here to appreciate it.
Our lodgings were very basic indeed, but then, this is the wilderness. We were advised that a key would be superfluous here – I could see what they meant …