Thursday, June 12, 2008

Alaska – Day 29 Denali National Park

We boarded our bus at 630 this morning for a short 6 hour (round trip) ride out to Toklat River. We passed the owl nest again getting better images. Today the weather was cooler with rain and clouds and still no Mountain.

Toklat River was the site of the temporary visitors center until the new one was completed (just days ago) at Eielson just a little past Thorofare Pass. Toklat has a semi-permanent structure which houses a National Geographic Book store and Ranger Station. We’ve been to this area twice now and each time we’ve seen Dall Sheep high on the cliffs overlooking the area.

The wildlife was out but with the exception of the owls which are just off the road, was all anywhere 1 mile plus away. We decided to take a different approach to the images today; Don used his Mamiya/Phase P30 on Tuesday for landscape while Sandy used her 1Ds III so today Don used his 1Ds II and new 400DO lens (along with extenders) and Sandy used a Canon G-9.

We came across a grizzly bear being harassed by a flock of ravens. We sat for close to 5 minutes watching for the smack-down; the odd thing (at least to us) was it looked like the bear backed down and left the area to the birds. All this took place on a ridge that had to be close to a mile from the road and luckily Don had the 2x extender on the lens thus making it an 800mm lens.

We posed as guests in the lobby of the McKinley Chalet where we found internet access thus allowing us to load the images from the past couple days. We hope to return there tomorrow to load images from today so stay tuned.

We broke down and bought a post card showing what the Mountain actually looks like in case the clouds fail to clear. Oh well……

Sandy & Don

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