|Sun, 22 Jul: One of the shortest day's drive of the summer. We moved eighteen miles from our overnite boondock spot to Denali National Park's Riley Creek Campground. We deliberately got an early start, rolling wheels at 0745, in order to be at the campground in time to get a good site.
We arrived shortly after eight and while Bob dumped the holding tanks and topped off the fresh water Sandi disconnected the car and scouted available sites. She found a nice, wide, level spot and marked it with some orange cones. She then drove back to the camp store and checked in for five nites. By then Bob was finished and met Sandi at our site to park Carpe and settle in.
It was a wise decision as the campground is pretty full and there are a limited number of sites that can accommodate our forty feet of coach. We scored a good one and will be happy here.
Around lunchtime the sun started peeking through the clouds and it has turned out to be a rather nice day. Breezy with temps in the low sixties, it is a pleasure to open the windows and let the coach air out.
We took a quick drive to the Wilderness Center to check availability of bus tours. The board shows all tours with available seats through mid week. The weather forecast is for cloudy and rain through mid week with possible clearing by Thursday. We'll probably make a bus tour decision later in the week once the forecasts are more settled.
Meanwhile, we're in a lovely spot in a gorgeous National Park. With our "old fart" discount we're paying a pittance for this boondock site and plan to kick back and relax. We have plenty to do so if it rains it's no big deal.
Thu, 26 Jul: Well, we had three "down" days during which we didn't stray far from home. The weather was generally fine, mostly cloudy with some sprinkles. We took some short hikes but mostly worked on our computers in a Sisyphian attempt to get caught up.
Today, however, was different. We'd been watching the forecasts which all seemed to agree that today would be mostly sunny. With that in mind we booked another Denali Park Bus Tour, this one to the Toklan River some 53 miles inside the park. The bus wasn't very full and we got seats right in front.
The weather was, as forecast, clear and sunny with temperatures in the seventies. Our driver was great and almost from the get-go we started catching glimpses of Denali, "The High One". We got some fantastic pix many of which we're sharing with you in this update. Our driver said these were the best views he's seen all year. What exquisite timing!
We didn't fare quite as well with wildlife. Today was Carabou Day, we saw four of them. One was right on the road in the midst of a construction zone. We had to edit the pix to get the orange cones out. The others were on the river beds, which seems to be a favorite haunt of theirs.
We did get to see one Grizzly Bear, on a ridge a good ½ to ¾ mile from the coach. Even with our long lenses the images aren't as good as we'd like, but heck they're better than nothing.
We got back the coach about 1600 and the weather is so beautiful that we have all the windows open and are planning to enjoy "happy hour" al fresco. Tomorrow we'll return to the more "normal" cloudy with 50% & 60% chance of rain. We'll depart Denali in the morning and head north to Fairbanks for the weekend.
Miles this leg: 18.1
Total miles since Casa Grande: 5,435.1