Sunday, September 09, 2007

Autumn in Denali

We were surprised by the signs of autumn. There are a few golden cottonwood or birch trees in the park, but it is the low bushes and tundra that are shades of red, orange and amber. There are five to six hours of darkness so we were able to see white and green aurora borealis, and asteroids. During the day, it misted and sprinkled so we saw five rainbows. Because of the clouds, we were unable to view Mt. McKinley and most of the photos were in muted light. The caribou were on the road and decided to outrun the bus until they saw the bike riders so they decided to exit stage right. Here are pictures that Raymond took of these animals. On our way home, we picked several pints of wild blueberries that Teresita made into two delicious blueberry pies that we ate on Labor Day.

White coats in Winter

What the ptarmigan, fox and snowshoe hares have in common is that their coats turn white in winter. The ptarmigan is becoming white but the fox and snowshoe hare aren’t ready for snow yet. We also saw herds of Dall sheep that are always white but they were far away.

Bears at Denali

We went to Denali National Park over the Labor Day weekend and saw grizzly bears! Terry was the first person from the bus to spot a mother grizzly and two cubs when we stopped for a bathroom break. On the twelve-hour trip to Kantishna and back, we saw seven bears at a distance and two that were close to the bus.