Category Archives: Animal Tracks

Out Camping in Denali

Last week Hubby and I celebrated a whole nine years of marriage.

To celebrate, we did something that we’ve only done once before during our marriage: went camping.

That’s right. My hubby, who used to be a Denali trail guide before I met him, and I have only camped once before last weekend. And you want to know the real insult? It wasn’t even Alaskan camping–it was in Washington state!

I’m hiding my head here, because it’s really so pathetic. I think we just got so caught up in life and everything that we didn’t make time to get away.

Last weekend though, we dropped the kid at Grandma and Grandpa’s, and drove a few hours into Denali National Park. In recent years, they’ve opened up the park road to 29 mile, Teklanika camp ground. So instead of taking a bus in, we were able to drive our car out to the campground.

Now, let me preface this by saying that this is light-weight camping. There were outhouses–nice ones–and potable water at this campground. But it was still “camping.” We didn’t have cell reception, so we were unplugged all weekend. And it really felt nice.

I was able to finish a short story while I was out there, and read some of Geraldine Brook’s The People of the Book, which I am starting to enjoy more, although it’s different from her other books and I don’t like it as much.

But I also managed to take a few pictures, and just had to share.


The entrance to our campsite.


We took an evening walk the day we got there, and the area surrounding the campsite was classic Alaska. The light was so great and created such a peaceful picture. I was tempted–if I didn’t realize how much wildlife as out there–to sit under a tree and read my book!


This little creek meandered through the area, eventually disappearing under the tundra.


We half expected to see a moose around the corner, or a bear, as we found many moose droppings in the area. But, no luck. No moose.


The next morning we woke and went on a morning hike along the Teklanika River. This is the view from the riverbank. It was a gorgeous day, with few clouds and nice hiking weather. Not too hot, nor too cold.


Some of the mountains still have snow on their tips, and probably won’t lose that snow all year round. Even so close to June, we found shaded spots and creeks with hardpacked snow still there.


Another classic Alaskan picture. The skinny trees, the mountains in the back, this could be anyone’s backyard. Only it’s in Denali National Park.


On our three hour hike along the river, we found thhese bear tracks on the way back to campsite. Later we heard from a camper we ran into ok our walk that a bus saw a Grizzly watching him pass by along the river.


With claws like this, who wouldn’t want to run into this guy?


Caribou tracks. Saw a lot of these along the river–tracks, not caribou.


These pretty little flowers grew along the riverbank in patches.


Wolf tracks. Saw plenty of these, as well as some fox tracks. But no live ones, unfortunately.


One of the few animals that posed for me, this graverobber visited our campsite a few times looking for food.


We didn’t want to get any closer to this Grizzly Bear we found right off the river from our campground. He looked a little too big to mess with!


If you look closely, you can find the Griz right in the center of this pic. My lens wasn’t good enough to get a better picture, something I’m still upset about…


As we drove out of the park Sunday morning, we were given a beautiful farewell by Denali herself.


Denali, or The Great One


Views like this is why people move here.


I couldn’t decide which picture was better… This was one of the best views I’d ever gotten of The Mountain.


The best wildlife shot I could get was of this ptarmigan! Silly bird didn’t move from the side of the road as we drove by.


But attention turns back to Denali… Who can tear their eyes from her?


She really dominates the scenery…she’s big!