Posts Tagged ‘Grizzly’

Denali: Hiking with Grizzlies in Sable Pass!! 08/09/2009

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

We were at Denali’s Teklanika Campground on our second full day 30 miles into Denali National Park. It had rained all night and was still drizzling in the morning. We decided stay put in the camper and hope the weather cleared.

A little before noon with the weather still dreary, we decided to go for a hike up the Teklanika River riverbed. We put on multiple layers of clothing and our wet weather coats and headed out. We didn’t bring our camera which was a mistake. We took a trail to the river and it led us up onto a ridge above the river that had a wonderful view of the braided river down below. We came down to the riverbed and followed it upstream for about an hour. We also took a short walk into the woods on the edge of the river. We posted a rock piling and drift wood into a signal so we could find our way back to the trail.

When we got back, Milly cooked soup for lunch. The weather appeared to be clearing up. We decided to get on a shuttle bus. Our plan was to get off when we got to a high alpine tundra area and take a hike in that environment.

We boarded a shuttle bus heading further into the park. We asked the driver where there was a good spot to get off to hike in alpine tundra. She told us to get off at Polychrome Pass about an hour up the road. When We reached another alpine area that looked good to us, we asked to be dropped off. The driver told us it was a restricted area and that we had to stay on the road. When we got off, we didn’t know where we were except that it was beautiful and that alpine tundra was all around us. We quickly realized it was at Sable Pass where we had seen bears and a caribou herd the day before.

The weather had pretty much cleared. There were clouds around but it was mostly sunny.

We did take a very short walk into the fields to get a feel of walking in the tundra. It was a restricted area because it was an area frequented by many animals. We did stick to the road, hiking thru Sable Pass towards Polychrome. We saw many animals. It started with Dahl sheep and a squirrel.

Then, we came upon a caribou standing out in the field by himself. It appeared to be transfixed in the same position for several minutes. We passed on, when all of a sudden, another caribou came racing across the field to our left and up toward the road. We continued walking towards where we thought it went. Then, the caribou came up on the road and started towards us. It seemed we were going to face a battle of wills. We held our ground and the caribou stopped, looked us over and headed off up the hill on the other side of the road.

Shortly thereafter we came across 3 grizzly bears eating at the side of the road in front of us. The mother of the 2 cubs looked at us before heading into a wooded patch. One of the cubs decided to take a look for himself. There are  pictures of the bears looking us over in the slide-show below. Keep in mind that we were about as close to these grizzlies as you ever want to get when out by yourself hiking. 

We also saw two other grizzlies a little further down the road.

We decided to take the next shuttle bus that came along. We got on. We were headed back across the same area we had hiked. Two different sightings of bears were seen. One was a mother and two small cubs that were playing with each other.

When we got back, Milly asked Fred if he had seen the two cubs standing looking at him when he was taking a picture of their mother? He hadn’t.

Denali: Wildlife Bus Trip to End of Park 08/08/2009

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Our park tour bus picked us up a the TEK Campground at 8:55 AM for our trip to to the end of the park road into Denali National Park.  The park road is 90 miles long but TEK campground is aleady at mile 29. The trip was a total of 120 miles. We returned about 7 PM. We stopped for rest breaks and at points of interest about once an hour.

Anytime someone spotted wildlife, they yelled out for the bus driver to stop. Many times the bus driver  spotted the wildlife first. We stopped often! Half way to the end of the park, the bus driver told us we had seen more grizzlies than any trip he could remember.

The weather was partly cloudy. We had expected showers which never happened.

We saw Dahl sheep, Moose, Wolf, Fox, Caribou, Arctic ground squirrels and of course Grizzlies. We saw just about all of most people have on their wish lists.

We saw quite a lot of wildlife in an area called Sable Pass.

We intended to meet Emmitt Peters, a guide at the Kantishna Road House.  Emmitt is the son of Edna Peters, who was married by Fred’s Uncle in Ruby – a small isolated village on the Yukon River. Emmitt was aslo baptised by Fr. Ron Dunfey. We thought that the bus would stop near the Kantishna Road House. It didn’t. If we knew more about the bus and how it operated as we do now, we may have met Emmitt.