Denali National Park and Preserve, Day 2 & 3

July 22, 2011

Our journey in the Last Frontier continues. . . . .

If you missed day one of our (my aunt and I) trip to Denali National Park & Preserve, check it out here.

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On Wednesday, we got started bright and early at 5:30 a.m.

We got everything packed up because we would be camping at a different location that night.

Another gourmet breakfast: hot oatmeal with banana slices, peanut butter, and jam.

Okay, so it doesn’t look so gourmet, but trust me, it tasted absolutely wonderful. . . . especially since it was a frigid 38* that morning!!


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These are the packets of oatmeal we used.

They are actually “old-fashioned instant oatmeal,” and after reading the instructions, we realized we weren’t supposed to just add hot water since old-fastioned oats need to be cooked, but seeing we didn’t have a microwave, we didn’t have any other options. So we just added hot water to them and ate them despite the fact they were a little on the chewy side.

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At 7 a.m., it was time to board the “Camper Bus” that we would be taking all the way to our destination: Wonder Lake Campground.

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We enjoy gorgeous views the entire ride there!

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Our first spotting of Mt. McKinley. (You may have to strain your eyes a bit. . . .she’s there, in all white, behind the “brown” mountains.)

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Me with Mt. McKinley in the background.

Yes, I am wearing a winter hat in the middle of summer, and, yes, that’s my puffy face from camping. 😕

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Getting closer. . . . .

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We are actually in the 30% club for getting to see the mountain.

Only 30% of the visitors to Denali actually see Mt. McKinley, and I’m pretty sure we are in the 1% club for being able to see the entire mountain, unobstructed by any clouds that day!! Amazing!!

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Under those “lumps” of “dirt” in the middle-ground of the picture is actually a glacier.

Since this is a very slow-melting glacier, over time the wind have blown soil on top and seeds have taken root in the shallow layer of soil. What a cool phenomenon!


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In total, the bus ride took about 5 hours, but we made several stops along the way, which helped to break up the ride.

Lunch break:

– peanut butter and jelly sandwich

– Food Should Taste Good Chips: Toasted Sesame

– carrot sticks

– an apple

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And our view while dining.

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During our bus ride there, we also stopped for animals we saw along the way. That day we saw:

– a mother bear with two cubs

– dall sheep

– another grizzly bear walking along a river

– caribou

Unfortunately I did not get any pictures because the animals were quite far away.

After 5 hours on the bus, we finally reached our campground for the night: Wonder Lake Campground.


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The view from our campsite.

And we were still 20 miles away from Mt. McKinley!

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Looking off to the left from our campsite.

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After getting our tent and campsite set up, we walked down to Wonder Lake.

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Absolutely crystal clear water.

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Sorry for the overabundance of Mt. McKinely pictures.

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The view from the other side of the lake.

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Me standing in front of Wonder Lake and Mt. McKinley.

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Me with my aunt, Sue.

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More Mt. McKinley pictures.


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Another view from our campsite with fireweed in the foreground and the Alaska Range in the background.

Side note: when the fireweed blooms, that means summer is almost over. . . . yes, I realize it is only July 22!

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That evening we attempted to go on a walk and do some hiking, but the mosquitoes were quite atrocious!

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Since bears are a problem in the area, we had to keep all of our food in a bear-proof food locker.

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The inside of the food locker.

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Thursday morning we woke up to another beautiful view of Mt. McKinely being illuminated by the sunrise.

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Can’t get enough of this view.

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Breakfast in the morning:

– Quaker Oatmeal Squares with organic milk

– Trader Joe’s trail mix

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After another 5 hour bus trip, we were ready to get off and eat some real food at Prospectors Pizzeria.


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We heard others talking about this place on the bus, so we figured it was a popular place.

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I ordered the Eggplant Parmigiana.

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I also had a side salad with a basil vinaigrette dressing.

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My Eggplant Parmigiana was very good!

Breaded eggplant with a strong pizza-flavored marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese.

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My aunt ordered the Alaskan Reindeer Sausage sandwich.

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Oh, and this was my view from where I was eating.

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It was an absolutely gorgeous day!

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I had a wonderful time and am so glad my aunt was here to “force” me to go. She didn’t actually force me to go, but I don’t know that I would have made it to Denali if it wasn’t for her!

7 Comments
    1. Gorgeous!!! Love your pictures! I’ve flown in two different planes around and over Mt McKinley (at only 1000 feet), but I’ve never actually driven that close or been in the park. This just reinforces that we really need to get out there!! 🙂

    1. These pictures are breathtaking! I want to be camping with you! It blows my mind there are places where it’s warm and summery but still snowy in the mountains. The east coast definitely doesn’t have the elevation for that. You’re making me want to snowboard to bad! 😀 BTW, it was 101 with a 115 heat index in PA today. ICK!

    1. gorgeous! i can’t believe you get to see those views when you camp

    1. I did not tire one iota of the pictures, wow, what a stunning place. I love how God provided for the two of you to be in the 1% of seeing the mountain on such a clear day!!!

    1. wow. swoon. i love (and miss) the mountains. your pictures just made my heart yearn. what a wonderful trip!!

    1. Awesome pictures of Mt. McKinley, Michelle! Too bad when we were there earlier this month, the shuttle service to Wonder Lake had not not started yet. We could only go as far as Eielson Center which I was quite content with…until I saw your post! Guess I need to go back to Alaska again for Wonder Lake 🙂

      (I also took a picture of the menu from Prospectors Pizzeria and posted it in my blog 😉

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