Thursday, May 24, 2018

A Day in Denali - Tundra Wilderness Tour

When we booked a Tundra Wilderness Tour a couple months back we knew very little about it:
  • We could choose a time but the actual time will be assigned 24-48 hours before the tour begins.
  • It goes into Denali National Park.
  • The tour uses an old school bus.
  • There was some kind of snack or lunch or something.
  • It was supposed to be a good tour.

That's it. We didn't know a darn thing else.

After doing the tour today I can report it was a good tour. Actually, a great tour. I highly recommend it.

Yep, our assigned time was different than the time we signed up for. Thank goodness! We had chosen a 6:40 am time (yikes, right?) but our actual assigned time was 9:10 am (whew).

Yep, it was an old school bus with student seats replaced with coach seats.

We had brought a box lunch from McKinley Creekside Cafe, just in case. They made amazing box lunches.
Look at the size of the brownie they put in our box!
 And the turkey and red onion!
But we really didn't need them as when we got on the bus there were boxes of snacks on our seats. Good snacks? Yep, and bottles (actually cans) of water to boot.
Just look at the variety of snacks each of us got.
Why would we need such a robust box of snacks for a bus ride? Because this bus ride went 52 miles into Denali National Park. On gravel roads and dirt roads, roads inaccessible to private vehicles. Through the forests and tundra and snowy vistas. For seven hours! (Later in the season the road opens a bit deeper into the park, but not in May.)

We saw bears. Lots of bears.

Lots of caribou.

Lots of Dall sheep.

How about porcupines? Yep.
Ptarmigans? Yep. Lots.
And if you didn't have a good view from your seat, the driver stopped the bus and used a zoom lens camera to get up close video. That video is broadcast right then and there on screens throughout the bus.

They had a heavy snow winter and it made for spectacular views.

No climbing up to the top of this viewpoint.
The roads were in good shape. But some of them were a bit scary. Glad I wasn't driving! 
See the road in the side of the mountain? Scary!
 It was an amazing day. Even heading south towards our hotel in Talkeetna was super pretty. Alaska is just gorgeous this time of year.