Sunshine and Denali


This is the end of six days at Riley Creek campground in Denali National Park and I can’t remember when I’ve been so sad to leave a place.  I just love it here!  Seeing Denali again would be the best reason to return to Alaska!

Meet Mt McKinley!  The Mountain refused to show its face the first 3 trips we made into the park but on Friday, blessed with abundant sunshine and clear blue skies, this is what was seen.

First glimpse McKinley


I can’t remember how far away we were…..seems like we were about 75 miles away when it first appeared. 

I took one of the green shuttle buses to Eielson Visitor Center which is 66 miles into the national park.  Travel is restricted after 15 miles and the pavement ends.  It took 8 hours to travel the 66 miles and return……8 hours in a bus similar to a school bus and on a washboard road!  But we saw three of the big five animals and the mountain! We were very far away from some of the critters….like the Dall Sheep.  Can you see them?

Dall Sheep

My camera is only 6 mp….this was the best I could do.  There is a sheep in the exact middle.

But back to the mountain.



As we got closer the clouds started moving in….by the time we got to Eielson, only the top and bottom could be seen.



I realize that I am going on and on about this mountain, but it is a really big deal to be able to see it!  We joined the 30% club as only 1/3 of the visitors to the park get a glimpse of the mighty McKinley.

One more picture before we move on!


The park employees were constantly reminding us of the protocol around the wildlife.


“If you see a bear, don’t run!  They will think you are prey and outrun you.

“If a moose comes toward you, run into the trees zig-zagging.”

“And don’t let a wolf get into your space…throw rocks or sticks…but don’t hurt him!”

Wolf sightings are kind of rare.  Bears are seen more frequently but we were advised that moose were more likely to cause problems.  Females will charge if their babies are around.  This momma moose had a baby but the picture was made from the safety of the bus….she was on the side of the road.

red squirrel



This caribou refused to show his front side…..look at that rack!

I’m getting sleepy….will write more later about this great park.

We are leaving here tomorrow, heading for Fairbanks and the last week of our time in Alaska.

David’s healing….has rarely mentioned his shoulder in the past two days.  He did not do the bus trip but felt like hiking today.

Hope to post this tomorrow, Sunday!


  1. No that's a club we would LOVE to join!!! How fortunate to have been able to see Mt. McKinley!!! I can only imagine :-)
    That bus ride must have been tough but well worth the time/effort to be able to view those awesome sights. Great pics!!
    Safe travels!

    1. Thank you! Yes, it was well worth it and since it was just a shuttle bus and not a tour, the cost was minimal.

      It nice to hear from you. Thanks!

  2. That should have said-- Now, that's a club we would LOVE to join!!!

    1. That's how my mind read it!

  3. So glad to hear David is feeling better and that you were able to take advantage of Friday's beautiful weather. Here's hoping Fairbanks treats you well.

    We're back in Eagle River and likely will be until we start our trail home.

    1. We took your advice and went to Chena River...very glad we did! It's a bit warm this evening but, amazingly, there are no bugs!

      Safe travels and hope Turk is continuing to heal...poor baby!

  4. To think of going all the way to Denali and NOT seeing McKinley would be horrible. Glad you had such a great day. Really enjoying your travels, and hope to make a similar trip sometime soon.

    1. So many people come away disappointed after spending lots of money to see the big mountain. Our weather finally changed and, on the fourth attempt, it came out in all of its glory.

      I never understood why everyone made such a big deal about seeing Alaska....now I know!
      Hope you can make it here soon.

  5. Isn't that bus ride torture?? We did NOT get to see the mountain :(

    1. Oh! I am so sorry! Hope there were some animals to make up for the no show on the mountain.

      I enjoyed the first 5 to 6 hours of the trip...then I just wanted it over. Don't know how people survive the 13 hour trip!

  6. Glad to hear David is on the mend....I was going to comment that the first Mt McKinley was Awesome..however each one kept getting more awesome...those worth framing...and marketing...thanks for sharing...glad the ride gave you great rewards.... Safe journey..Horst

    1. You know I love it when you like my pictures! I had so many of McKinley...it was all that I could do to restrain myself from showing all of them.

      Glad that you are having such a great time with the gkids! Enjoying your road story!

  7. Sunshine and McKinley...can only imagine. So happy for...what memories! So you zig sag a moose, interesting! Driveway camping..final packing tomorrow and move to a real campground. Adjusting to new bed...wow! Hope the blue skies keep shining for you two.

    1. Wondering when we are going to finally meet, now that you are free from the cares of work and house?

      So glad that you are "going for it!"

      Our trip should last until the middle of Sept...plan to be at Farnum Creek gathering in Kansas right after Labor Day. Love to see you there!

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  9. "We are leaving here tomorrow, heading for Fairbanks and the last week of our time in Alaska."
    So soon? :-( All good things have to end sometimes, don't they? Beautiful pics of Denali. Hope to see it one day, myself. Great to hear David is doing better with his shoulder. I'm sure yal' have lots of adventures ahead, as you make your way back to the lower 48 and home....Safe travels....

    1. We would have stayed at Denali longer but just plum ran out of food!
      City camping tonight in Chena River State park, across the street from a Fred Meyer grocery in Fairbanks. $17 a night with no hook-ups.

      Lots of adventures for sure if the old bodies hold out! And the health on the home front stays stable.

  10. I am just thrilled that you finally got to see that majestic mountain!

    Sounds like a grueling bus ride, but so worth it!

    And I'm so relieved that David is doing better!

    Enjoy your last week there. I can't believe it's almost time for you to leave. Make every minute count! :)

    Wishing you a safe and happy journey home.

  11. Sharon, thanks for you comment. My blogging relationships are keeping me from getting homesick.

    We are far from starting home....San Francisco will be the next major objective after the journey through Canada....a family visit!

    Glad you are heading out soon as I know it keeps you happy.

  12. Oh, I'm so glad you aren't headed straight home! I, very selfishly, don't want this lovely journey to end!

  13. What an experience of a lifetime to see McKinley!

  14. Yes, we are official members of the 30% club!